H-SC President, 1919-1939
Joseph D. Eggleston 1886, the third member of his class to be elected President, brought a totally new perspective to his office. He had engaged in a distinguished career in public education which included two terms as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. When the Board turned to him, he was President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Eggleston soon began creating the modern presidency: he did not teach classes; he had an office outside his home; he had a full-time Business Manager, a Dean, and in 1922 instituted an annual budget. In his push to modernize, Dr. Eggleston increased the number of students and faculty, so full use was made of the buildings (everything on the south side of Via Sacra) that Major Richard Venable 1857 had bought for the College when Union Seminary moved to Richmond, and a building entirely for the sciences (Bagby Hall) was erected in 1922.
Dr. Eggleston was aided in steering the College through the Depression by the fact that it was a highly visible bargain: until 1929 tuition had not increased since before the Civil War, and national attention came when a study showed that Hampden-Sydney had the highest percentage of graduates in the 1928-29 Who's Who in America of any institution. In 1936 he persuaded a descendant of one of the founding Trustees to give a building (Morton Hall) in memory of his ancestor - the most generous gift the College had ever received.
A full twenty-year term ended with retirement on campus until his death in 1952.