I am happy and honored to report a number of highlights from the successful 2014-2015 academic year at Hampden-Sydney College. It is also my pleasure to mention a few positive indicators of continued successes for the current 2015-2016 year.
In 2014 the number of applicants for admission increased 38% from the fall of 2013, and opening enrollment numbered 1,087. The average high school GPA of the incoming freshmen held near 3.4, as did the average SAT score of 1116. The first-year retention rate, which measures the number of freshmen who return for their sophomore year, was 82.6%, nearly matching the previous year's rate, which was the highest in 24 years.
Alumni giving held close to last year's average at around 32%, still a significant increase of 28% from six years ago. The endowment continues to grow and has reached $154.6 million, an all-time high.
The College has continued to host a number of educational programs. The "What Works: Raising Boys, Engaging Guys, and Educating Men" conferences have continued. Nearly 7,000 copies of the book have been distributed so far, and the College continues to be at the forefront of the national conversation about the welfare of boys and young men. The College also hosted its first Shelton Challenge, a five-day summer residential experience during which rising freshmen or high school students explored the cornerstones of values-based leadership. The Good Men Plan is also continuing to help guide students in fulfilling the College's mission.
The Final Convocation at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year saw a number of students recognized for their outstanding performances. Others were recognized for their exceptional scholarship and character on C Day IV. Hampden-Sydney is continuing to form exceptional students and produce outstanding graduates.
At Final Convocation, Aaron Gilani '15 earned the Anna Carrington Harrison Award for constructive leadership as well as the Hampden-Sydney Man of the Year Award for his high standard of honor, integrity, and character. Four ROTC cadets also were commissioned as officers in the U.S. Army.
On C Day IV, B. Branch E. Vincent '16 earned the President's Award for Overall Academic Excellence for having the highest cumulative GPA in his class. He enrolled as an Allan Scholar in August 2012, in 2014 he was initiated into Omicron Delta Kappa, and in 2015 he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He is double-majoring in physics and applied mathematics.
Hampden-Sydney professors have continued giving presentations at conferences and have continued having articles appear in scholarly journals. Patterson Professor of Government Dr. James Pontuso recently published and presented a paper titled, "Can the Free Market Work Without Virtue?" a presentation and critical examination of the founding principles of Libertarianism. Associate Professor Dr. Kristian Hargadon '01 published a report on melanoma genome expression analysis, a report related to cancer research he has been pursuing with students on campus.
Thank you for supporting Hampden-Sydney College. Your financial contributions directly support the continuing scholarship at the institution as well as the students' educations. Many of them would not have been able to attend the College without your generosity, and many will leave as better men because of it.
Dr. Christopher B. Howard