Douglas G. Robertson '54

One of the criteria for the Lifelong Leadership is to recognize a person who has devoted him or herself to advancing the betterment of the human race.  Douglas Robertson, Hiram Class of 1954, and his beloved Hiram House Camp are two names synonymous with caring for and caring about people - especially young people.

Hiram House was founded in 1896 by George Bellamy and five other Hiram students as a settlement house for immigrant families living in the slums of Cleveland. While much of its original focus was helping with language and housing problems, in the early 1900s Hiram House purchased land in Moreland Hills as a fresh air camp for children from these immigrant families.

By 1949, Hiram House had closed the Cleveland location and began to focus its mission on providing a positive summer camping experience for inner city children. Today, it has served nearly 1,000 children of different races and socio-economic levels and provided a healthy and motivational two-week life living and learning experience that breaks down racial and cultural barriers.

No one has helped to perpetuate this experience more than Doug Robertson; we salute him for helping to assure that Hiram House Camp will continue to serve needy children.

Doug began his affiliation with Hiram House in 1946 as a counselor living on the grounds. Forty years later, he is a member of its Board of Trustees helping to oversee the grounds and assuring that Hiram House Campus perpetuates its mission on many fronts.

Never afraid to pitch in, Doug provided countless hours working on camp plans, including the recent addition of an equestrian center for children's enjoyment. Hiram students are once more involved with Hiram House, thanks to Doug's gentle nudging to reconnect these two organizations. Hiram students are now actively engaged on the grounds tutoring and reading to children, as well as providing science-related programs.

While working at Hiram House Camp during his teen years, Doug made a life-changing decision to work with children, and that decision lead him to Hiram College, then into teaching and coaching, and finally elementary administration as a principal in Geauga County.

Over the years, Doug has been an active member of his church and the church choir, an officer and leader in the State Association of Elementary Principals, a member of the Geauga County Historical Society, a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and vice president of the Hiram College Alumni Executive Board.

But these time-consuming activities have never deflected his dedication to Hiram House. Being a Hiram House volunteer is not easy given the background of some of the children who benefit from this facility. Other non-profit agencies have captured more of the limelight and the imagination of the newspapers and the public, but Doug's devotion to the Hiram House has never wavered. On July 7, 2001 the State of Ohio honored Hiram House with a historical marker noting its early beginnings as the first settlement house in Ohio. The very fact that Hiram House is still in existence 105 years after its founding is, in part, a tribute to people like Doug Robertson.

For his willingness to serve children, especially those ill served by family and community ... and for his willingness to devote personal energy, time, physical labor, and a lifetime of wisdom, Hiram College is proud to salute this unsung hero by presenting Douglas G. Robertson its 2001 Lifelong Leadership Award.

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