Igniting Sound Learning

A Campaign for the Classroom

For more than two hundred and thirty‑seven years, Hampden-Sydney College has excelled as a premier liberal arts institution. Inside its sixty-four classrooms, faculty and students come together and ignite a passion for learning, a desire for greater achievement.

Igniting Sound Learning: A Campaign for the Classroom is a college-wide fundraising effort, led by our Parents Council, to transform those classrooms and the Writing Center into even more active and collaborative learning environments.

In 2012, the College received a generous foundation grant to transform ten high‑use classrooms by adding new furniture, improving acoustics and lighting, and providing the latest presentational technology. The College’s Parents Council chose to take advantage of this good fortune by embarking on a fundraising campaign to renovate and improve the remaining classrooms. Thus was born Igniting Sound Learning: A Campaign for the Classroom.

The need for such transformation is clear: many of our classrooms, outfitted for a distinct style of learning made popular in the 1960s and 70s, present challenges today as faculty focus more on student‑centered learning. The fixed desks and chairs in most classrooms also present a challenge. Today’s teaching methods require furniture that can be moved to facilitate small group discussions and collaboration. Even the existing seminar classrooms, where intimate discussions take place, are not suited for flexibility and mobility in classroom instruction. Please enjoy the video below to better see how we will transform the classroom.

Source: Creative-VA, Rick Carr ’73.

Igniting Imagination

Our faculty continues to ignite the imagination of our students by refining pedagogical styles. Accordingly, they seek ways to shape spaces inside our classrooms to foster active and collaborative learning. Honing rhetoric skills requires a Writing Center that is an attractive, comfortable, working space. For this vital work, classrooms and learning centers should be designed to inspire the mind to reach new levels.

Learning—more than the acquisition of knowledge—is an intangible experience that transcends both time and space. The Igniting Sound Learning campaign will provide distinctly tangible, physical, and immediate benefits for those inside the classroom. Upgrading those spaces will not only provide a strong selling point for prospective students, but will also help faculty teach and current students learn. Transforming our learning environment at Hampden-Sydney College will advance the whole community of scholars.

The greatest benefit from contributing towards Igniting Sound Learning is witnessing the immediate and tangible result: the transformation of our classrooms and the Writing Center. But it is not difficult to imagine the greater student and faculty satisfaction, improved retention rates for students, and attractive spaces appealing to prospective students that will also result from these efforts. Gifts to the Igniting Sound Learning campaign will not simply fix broken desks; they will help the College ignite untold possibilities in the imaginations of our students. Gifts can be made securely online at https://commerce.cashnet.com/HSCdonations

Young Founders
Classroom Renovations
Classroom Renovations
Classroom Renovations
Classroom Renovations
Classroom Renovations
Classroom Renovations

The Writing Center

Hampden-Sydney’s respected Rhetoric Program has been central to its “atmosphere of sound learning” since its addition to the core curriculum in 1978. The Rhetoric Program also has created a unique bond between H-SC alumni and students: every Hampden-Sydney man must pass the exacting Rhetoric Proficiency Examination to graduate. Established to assist Rhetoric students—and all students—seeking to improve their writing skills, the Writing Center quickly became the heart of H-SC’s educational experience. Many use the Center for more than simply improving an essay or research paper; they also find assistance with crafting letters and essays for graduate and professional schools and scholarship applications. Designed for a smaller student population and filled with bulky computer equipment from the 1990s, the Writing Center remains today much as it has been since receiving the original funding in the late 1980s.


“The high caliber of our professors made up for classroom deficiencies, but it became evident that a more dynamic classroom setting would improve teaching and help students better retain what they learned.”

—Barron Frazier ’12, Eastern Virginia Medical School

The Nuts and Bolts

Igniting Sound Learning officially began on July 1, 2012, with an expected conclusion on June 30, 2013. Under the direction of the College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, the Parents Council will serve as front-line ambassadors for the Campaign and assist with cultivating prospective donors. Campaign literature will be distributed widely among current and past parents of students, and a special campaign website will be launched over the summer to illustrate the proposed changes to the classrooms.

In addition to working with parents, the Office of Institutional Advancement will be submitting proposals to foundations in order to complement our Parents Council efforts.

The cost of renovating one classroom is $25,000. This covers the installation of new desks, presentational equipment, and lighting and acoustical upgrades. With a gift of $25,000, donors will be able to name a classroom space. To facilitate a gift of this size, the College will allow donors the opportunity to spread the gift over the course of five years. Several families have already taken advantage of this incredible opportunity by pledging $5,000/year for five years.

The Writing Center renovations will cost approximately $50,000. New furnishings for student tutorial space and faculty offices within the Center, lighting and acoustical upgrades, and flooring and expansion of the Center are included in the renovation costs.

Gifts of any size will undoubtedly create an impact on the learning environment of the College. Pledge or make your gift in support of sound learning securely online at https://commerce.cashnet.com/HSCdonations.


“Working in the Writing Center gives students and student tutors the opportunity to challenge each other on academic ideas outside of the classroom. My peer tutoring experiences have been as valuable as my classroom experiences both in terms of expanding my mental capacity and social circle.”

—Alex Cartwright ’13