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Hiram College receives $1 million gift from anonymous donor

By Katie Byard • Dec 14, 2018 at 2:00 PM

HIRAM — Hiram College has received a $1.25 million gift from an anonymous donor.

The liberal arts school in Portage County revealed the gift Tuesday, saying it was made in honor of Galen J. Roush, a 1915 alumnus and co-founder of Roadway Express and the GAR Foundation in Akron.

The donation is to support scholarships for students who need financial assistance, and was the third such contribution from the anonymous donor.

The first was a $2 million gift in 2015 to create the endowed fund for need-based scholarships in the name of Roush. And the second was $665,000 in 2016.

The $1.25 million contribution is not part of Hiram's "Vision 20/20" fundraising campaign, the college said in a news release issued Tuesday.

The college launched the public phase of this effort in late October.

The fundraising campaign comes as the college — like some other small liberal arts colleges, is working to shore up finances as it faces the challenge of attracting students in the classical liberal arts areas. The goal is to raise $20 million in cash and $20 million in pledges by June 30, 2020. By the end of October, the campaign had secured nearly $11 million in cash and another $8 million in pledges.

The fundraising is for four areas: technology, campus improvements, branding and marketing and the school's "Comprehensive Academic Redesign." This redesign includes the elimination of some stand-alone majors, as well as the reconfiguring of academic offerings to focus on the college's tradition of interdisciplinary and experiential education.

"Vision 20/20 is a timely and critically important short-term, focused campaign. But gifts outside the campaign — like this remarkably generous one from our anonymous donor — ensure the longevity of student support," said Jennifer Schuller, vice president of development and alumni at Hiram, in the news release.

Each year, Hiram College hands out more than $5 million in need-based scholarships to students.

Earlier this year, Hiram President Lori Varlotta told the Beacon Journal the college was planning to cut $1.2 million from a $30 million operating budget so that it can meet bond obligations. Varlotta, who was hired in 2014, noted the college had cut operating expenses by more than $1.2 million in 2015 and 2016. More than 20 staff members lost their jobs during this period, and two top-level administrative positions were eliminated.

Enrollment of traditional students this fall was expected to total just below 1,000, about the same as last fall. But the number of new traditional students is trending up, she said. Hiram also has weekend students.

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©2018 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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