The Hiram College Hal Reichle Scholarship

Awarded to Hiram College sophomores or juniors for community

serving and giving.

The Basis of the Hiram College Hal Reichle Scholarship

Speech given on May 7, 2003, at the Hiram College Hal Reichle Memorial Scholarship Award's Dinner.

Good evening and Welcome to Hiram College.

It is my great pleasure to welcome the member's of Hal Reichle's family who have created this unique scholarship. I also want to commend Eric Buckman and the past recipients who have joined us this evening. Each of you reaffirms the values that Hal Reichle represented and each of you sheds a favorable light on our institution. To the members of our community and friends of Hiram, thank you for joining us to remember an outstanding individual and his successors.

There are images and experiences that warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. I am thinking of children's excitement on Christmas morning, or surprise parties, or reunions. They are not only moments of deep feeling, but fun, surprising, and humorous.

An outstanding example is what I have decided to name the Reichle Stratagem.

It is an action that is designed to achieve at one and the same time: a kindness, a surprise, a gesture of caring, and to inspire delight on the part of both doer and recipient. The Reichle Stratagem does not make one think of the great saints and ascetics; rather, it makes one think of the Three Musketeers and Robin Hood. It is a form of giving that unquestionably springs from pure motives and the kind of selflessness that enhances the life of the benefactor as much as the beneficiary. It embodies what the ancient Christians called "caritas," the etymological root of charity: that is: love in its highest form. But that isn’t a sufficient characterization. You have to imagine this figure of Pauline spirituality working his magic like a Halloween prankster.

The Reichle Stratagem is built on secrecy. Secrecy ensures selflessness: that is, a complete focus on the goodness of the act rather than on the character of the actor. It sends a message to the beneficiary that the thought behind the gesture is entirely for the recipient, that there is no ulterior motive. It has all the characteristics of a prank, but lacks any suggestion of meanness.

The Reichle Stratagem is a weapon in the war against human solitude. Out of the blue, you discover that someone is thinking about you; that someone cares; that someone sees your need and responds.

There is something quintessentially "Hiram" about the Reichle Stratagem. First and foremost, it is about service to others and the community. This goes to the College's mission: the preparation of students for citizenship and leadership in their communities. A fundamental dimension of education is the movement beyond the self to the discovery of the world and others. As I have said, the Reichle Stratagem begins with selflessness. Acts of selflessness make citizens out of individuals; they elevate humans to humanity.

Most important, the Reichle Stratagem is fun. Fun in the doing; delight in the surprise. We forget too often the importance of humor to the great humanists: think of Shakespeare and Rabelais. Humor reminds us that, as individuals, we share in the greatness of humankind but that we are not the sum of the world. Humor in charity offers a gentle and lightening response to need; it humanizes the good life, making it clear that goodness is within reach of us all.

These are virtues, and a form of virtue, that Hiram wishes to instill in its students. The Reichle Stratagem is an experience that we wish to weave into the fabric of our community. Community: it is a word that one hears everywhere at Hiram. We define much of our distinctiveness as an institution in terms of the community that we create. And it is created and re-created every day. Now, you can’t have a community of one. It begins with the involvement of one individual in the life of another. You might say that Hiram’s community is built on the Reichle Stratagem.

I offer you these reflections as a way of thanking the Reichle family for institutionalizing the caring, mischievous, selfless character of Hal Reichle in this scholarship. I thank them for their generosity, and I thank them for giving Hiram a living, renewable embodiment of the values we stand for.

Thank you.

Richard J. Scaldini
Hiram College

To donate to the Hiram College Hal Reichle Scholarship Fund:

Hiram College
Office of Gift Planning
Bancroft House
PO Box 67
Hiram, Ohio 44234