It is a privilege to share with you highlights of Hampden-Sydney College's 2015-2106 academic year and our optimism for the years to come. Once again, the College has many achievements to report, thanks to your vital support of our mission "to form good men and good citizens."
Our mission centers on our students, a group of young men that continues to make us proud. The College began the 2015-2016 year with strong recruiting efforts, resulting in the largest number of applicants in school history. The Class of 2019 entered with an average GPA of 3.44 and an average SAT of 1116, numbers that represent an increase from the previous year. The College ended the academic year at Commencement with the largest graduating class in our history. The Class of 2016 included 74 honor graduates and 23 graduates now pursuing doctoral programs.
Two particular student achievements point to the strong intellectual and ethical foundation that Hampden-Sydney provides. In February, the College took first place in the statewide Ethics Bowl, where a team of four Hampden-Sydney students deliberated case studies related to ethics and civic responsibility. Then, junior biology major James H. Lau became the third Hampden-Sydney student to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, the nation's premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. James was recognized for research on the factors that control melanoma growth and metastasis. These notable accomplishments showcase our students' critical thinking skills, as well as their strong character and citizenship.
The Hampden-Sydney faculty is another important element in fulfilling our mission. Over the past year, professors contributed valuable scholarship within their fields and guided their students in noteworthy research. Hampden-Sydney professors presented papers at academic conferences, published scholarly books, and were featured in academic journals such as the Journal of Clinical Medicine, the Journal of Higher Education, and Perspectives on Political Science. Under the guidance of Assistant Professor Dr. Erin Clabough, 15 neurobiology students were accepted for publication in the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. In addition, Hampden-Sydney students traveled around the country to present research in the fields of economics, physics, biology, and chemistry. Faculty members also served in scholarly organizations, such as Assistant Professor Dr. Erin Cowling, who was elected to a three-year term on the Modern Language Association's Delegate Assembly, the largest scholarly meeting in the humanities. Faculty and student efforts such as these extend the academic reputation of Hampden-Sydney beyond the Hill.
Outside the classroom, Hampden-Sydney students participated in a wide variety of activities and community service, and a quarter of our student body played on an NCAA varsity athletic team. Our outstanding coaching staff led and mentored these students; by focusing on their athletic development as well as their character development, Hampden-Sydney coaches continue the mission of forming good men. In particular, retiring head lacrosse coach Ray Rostan was named ODAC Coach of the Year and junior Robert Kerby was named ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, both recognized for excellence on and off the field.
The generous financial support of our donors helped the College reach two important milestones in 2015-2016: the endowment of the Howard Rhetoric Chair and the awarding of the Crawley Scholarship in English. These endowed programs ensure the continued excellence of Hampden-Sydney's widely recognized Rhetoric Program and make a Hampden-Sydney education available to deserving students. The year also saw significant improvements to campus, with the February groundbreaking for the new Brown Student Center and the May groundbreaking for the renovation of Winston Hall, which will be renamed Brinkley Hall and house the Joe Viar and Bonnie Christ Center for the Arts. Both buildings are slated for completion in 2017.
These highlights provide but a snapshot of the vibrant community that your financial contributions support. Your gifts maintain Hampden-Sydney's academic excellence and provide young men access to that excellent education. Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission "to form good men and good citizens" this past year and in the years to come.