Sarah Hagen McWilliams

“Wittenberg inspires students to go out and do something meaningful in the world. I know it inspired me, and for that I am grateful.”

Sarah Hagen McWilliams ’88

Campaign Co-Chair; Fundraiser and Grant Writer; daughter of the late Susan Hirt Hagen, Class of 1957, and granddaughter of H.O. Hirt, Class of 1911

“Wittenberg’s mission to ‘provide a liberal arts education dedicated to intellectual inquiry and wholeness of person’ sincerely resonates with me as I think about what makes Wittenberg a special place and how it impacted me personally. I can honestly say I received a stellar education at Wittenberg. Witt’s faculty are and always have been some of the country’s best educators. Many of the essential skills I learned throughout my coursework — creative and critical thinking, public speaking, writing, and research — I use professionally every day. As a result of all these things, I believe Witt’s approach to a liberal arts education exposes students to a wide variety of topics and subjects and encourages the free exploration and expression of ideas. It challenges students to think outside personal comfort zones.

And that is exactly what Wittenberg did for me. When I first came to school as a freshman, I was not sure what I wanted to study. I intended to focus on science at first, but after experimenting with a variety of course offerings, I eventually decided to do something completely different. As a result of taking an art history class, I was quite sure I had found the subject I wanted to study seriously. However, art history was not offered as a major at the time. Instead of choosing another path, I was encouraged to design my own art history major through the history and art departments. The freedom to think creatively and pursue alternatives — to truly think outside the box — and to feel supported on a nontraditional academic journey are at the heart of Wittenberg’s mission and what it means to me to be a Wittenberg graduate.

Another truly special aspect of the Wittenberg experience — a tradition that sets Witt apart from other liberal arts colleges — is Wittenberg’s commitment to servant leadership and the student service semester. Witt turns out future leaders and global citizens who understand the importance of giving back, of helping out, of asking the question, ‘What can I do to make this world a better place?’

As a third-generation Wittenberg graduate, I can see many examples of Wittenberg’s influence woven into the fabric of my own family. When my grandfather started our family’s company nearly 95 years ago, the goal was to not only produce an excellent product, but to embrace the responsibility of giving back to the community in a meaningful way. By actively teaching the concepts of service, leadership, vocation, and giving, in concert with the liberal arts, I believe Wittenberg inspires students to go out and do something meaningful in the world. I know it inspired me, and for that I am grateful.”

Sarah Hagen McWilliams ’88, MSW, earned her master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Sarah Hagen McWilliams is a member of the Campaign Steering Committee.

Wittenberg thrives as we strengthen our alumni efforts to connect, engage, and celebrate our Wittenberg community. Here are five ways you can get involved with the Campaign today:

With your support, Having Light: The Campaign for Wittenberg University will carry us toward our third century, secure in all we possess and assured of our ability to pass it on to future generations. Thank you for engaging and participating!