Commencement 2015

May 13, 2015

On Sunday, May 10, the College celebrated its 240th academic year as 231 men received their diplomas.

Robert Hurt '91U.S. Representative Robert Hurt was the Commencement speaker. Representative Hurt graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1991 and received his law degree from Mississippi College School of Law in 1995. 

Currently, he represents Virginia's Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over all aspects of the nation's financial and housing sectors.

A native of Pittsylvania County, Representative Hurt served, from 2002 to 2007, in the Virginia House of Delegates representing parts of Pittsylvania County, Henry County, and the City of Martinsville. Beginning in 2008, he represented the 19th District in the Senate of Virginia for two years.

In his address, Hurt said, "This college, literally born in the crucible of revolution, has faithfully served the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the citizens of our great nation for the last 239 years. This is a legacy that inspires me; and I hope that it is a legacy that inspires you." As a part of the commencement exercises, the College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Virginia DiStanisloaAn honorary Doctor of Divinity was given to The Reverend Virginia DiStanislao, the Priest-in-Charge of The Episcopal Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in Kenbridge. She spoke at this year's Baccalaureate ceremony. Honorary degrees were also awarded to Miles Hobart-Hampden, Earl of Buckinghamshire, and Thomas Allen '60.

Hobart-Hampden is a descendant of one of the College's eponyms, John Hampden, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his participation in various charities and service as co-chairman of the Hampden-Sydney College "Through These Gates" campaign.

Allen has served as a member of the College's Board of Trustees for sixteen years, and in the most recent seven years, he has acted as Chairman of the Board. For his service and work with several charitable institutions, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Swearing in of ROTC CadetsFour ROTC cadets were commissioned as officers in the United States Military. Lieutenant Colonel  Rucker Snead '81 (Ret. USA) administered the Oath of Office to (left to right) Kolin Atkinson, Joshua Gaskill, John Wirges, and Robert Zbinden.


Connor Bradley '15Following this ceremony, the valedictory address was given by Connor Bradley, who became the First Honor Graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.9842.

2015 Commencement Awards Recipients:

  • The Gammon Cup is given in honor of past professor, pastor, and president, Dr. Edgar G. Gammon '05: Holton Walker '15
  • The Anna Carrington Harrison Award is given to the student who shows the most constructive leadership in a school year: Aaron Gilani '15
  • The Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award is awarded to recognize intellectual excellence as manifested in an outstanding student: Ryan Rivas '15
  • The Cabell Award is presented annually to the faculty member who contributes most "to the education of Christian young men": Dr. Claire Deal, Elliott Professor of Rhetoric
  • The Robert Thruston Hubbard IV Award is given in memory of Robert Thruston Hubbard IV '35, professor of political science. This recipient is the staff member with the most distinguished service to the College and its ideals: Janice Burkhart, Accounts Payable and Purchasing Manager
  • The Thomas Edward Crawley Award is presented in memory of professor and Dean, Thomas Crawley. This recipient is the faculty member with the most distinguished service to the College and its ideals: Dr. Mike Utzinger, Elliott Professor of Religion
  • The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion is given annually to a senior (or seniors) with excellence of character and generous service to his fellows and to a member of the faculty for service and dedication to the College: (student winners) Jonathan Wade '15 and John Wirges '15 (faculty winner) Dr. David Marion, Elliott Professor of Government & Foreign Affairs
  • The Hampden-Sydney College Man-of-the-Year Award  is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated high standards of honor, integrity, and character: Aaron Gilani '15
  • The Senior Class Award is presented to the community member(s) who have truly influenced the members of the graduating class in insurmountable ways: Dr. Bill Shear, Trinkle Professor of Biology and Dee Vick, Head Basketball Coach.
  • The Senior Class Gift is a scholarship campaign named after a member of the community who represents the College with dignity and is beloved by the senior class: Jeff Gee, Deputy Chief of Police