Gilmer Hall

Gilmer Hall

Via Sacra
Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943
(434) 223-6183

Gilmer Hall, academic building for the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), was built in 1968 and named for Dr. Thomas E. Gilmer 1923, former President of the College and professor of physics at Hampden-Sydney. Antique laboratory equipment, some dating to the eighteenth century, is on exhibit in the display cases in the entrance hall.

Gilmer Hall is designed in a modified Federal style. The front arches, for example, would be considered Georgian. The central chimney was modeled after those at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, the home of Robert E. Lee. Near Gilmer are a separate greenhouse and a three-acre freshwater pond. Gilmer Hall is well equipped for undergraduate training in the natural sciences, faculty research, independent-study research, and cooperative faculty-student projects.

The science departments have equipment not normally found in undergraduate colleges, including high-power lasers, helium liquifiers, multi-channel analyzers, high-speed oscilloscopes, and spectrum analyzers. Hampden-Sydney also has four 10-inch and two 8-inch reflecting telescopes for student use. A new astronomical observatory was built in the summer of 1994 for student and faculty observing and research.

Since 1985, the chemistry department has acquired $600,000 worth of sophisticated new chemical instrumentation, including several computer-controlled Fournier-transform nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectrometers, and a gas-chromatograph/mass-spectrometer. All instruments have either built-in computer control or have dedicated desktop PC computers for control and data acquisition. These PCs are also available to students for word processing, data processing, and chemical graphics, to be used in reports and seminar slide presentations.