March 17, 2011
Nathan R. Ryalls '11
On February 22, members of the Hampden-Sydney College community gathered to discuss what our brotherhood means and how we measure up to those ideals. The "Honoring the Brotherhood" Symposium started with an open-forum featuring four panelists and moderated by Reverend David Keck. Nathan Ryalls '11 started the symposium by presenting a definition of brotherhood at Hampden-Sydney and urged the community to not be discouraged, explaining that it is time to enter a discussion on "why we have not lived up to these ideals and when we have surpassed them."
The first half of the "Honoring the Brotherhood" symposium ended with an open discussion in which the panelists fielded questions from the audience. The topic most frequently raised dealt with the need to continue the discussion about the nature of the brotherhood.
Later that evening, Dr. Tammy Shultz, Director of National Security and Joint Warfare and Professor of Strategic Studies at the United States Marine Corps War College, spoke on "Traditions: A Double-Edged Sword?" Dr. Christopher Howard, a colleague of Dr. Shultz in the Truman National Security Project, introduced Dr. Shultz. Dr. Shultz warned the audience, "If I don't offend you, then I'm not doing my job." She spoke on the decision to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, explaining why, in her view, the Marines are the most resistant of the military branches to opening their ranks to gays and lesbians. She noted similarities between the Marines and Hampden-Sydney College beyond their shared birthday. She noted that both institutions are slow to change because of their traditions. Dr. Shultz argued that traditions create the positive sense of "we-ness," but at the same time negatively define who we are by forcing us to define who we are not.
The "Honoring the Brotherhood" Symposium was the start of a discussion of Hampden-Sydney College's strengths and weaknesses. This discussion should continue as we try to understand what a Hampden-Sydney Man is and how members of this community can live up to our ideals of brotherhood.