On the Hill
Students enjoy the newly renovated Tiger Inn, which came after Thompson Hospitality took over the food service contract at the College. The new design replaces the dark, pub-style atmosphere with an open, contemporary appearance. The Tiger Inn now has additional TVs, new pool and ping-pong tables, and an expanded menu.
BORTZ LIBRARY IN ELITE COMPANY
Our students love the Bortz Library so much that the Princeton Review has ranked it 7th in student satisfaction. This puts Hampden-Sydney College squarely between Yale University (6th) and University of Chicago (8th). Other schools in the top ten include Ivy Leaguers Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth, as well as the huge university library systems of West Virginia University, Stanford, and Cornell.
"I think our position in the top 10 shows how the design of the library was driven by our students' needs," says Dr. Cy Dillon, director of the library and academic information services. "We continue to implement news ways to better serve the College and the community-from making the DVD collection more accessible to ensuring that our computers have up-to-date software. Overall, we have seen continued growth in the number of students using the library."
The Princeton Review surveyed some 122,000 students at the schools in The Best 377 Colleges, 2013 Edition and the results are based solely on the students' response to the question: "How do you rate your school's library facilities?"
Dr. Dillon says, "When we see this library brimming with students, we know we are doing our job right."
NEW OBSERVATORY DOME INSTALLED
Sometimes, when things go wrong, everything turns out right. Such is the case with Hampden-Sydney's observatory.
A lightning strike during a storm last fall caused the observatory's automated roof to open. That storm then dumped two inches of rain on the facility's primary telescope, all of the student telescopes, and its computer system. The place was ruined.
However, this event also gave the College a chance to upgrade the observatory using the money from the insurance payment. Rather than using the same design that failed during the storm, the Physics Department decided installing a dome would reduce the odds of exposing the equipment to storm damage again, allow for keeping the computer equipment in a climate-controlled room, and allow for a small classroom.
Dr. Walter "Mike" McDermott says, "Irvin Robertson, our laboratory technician, came up with the idea and reconfigured the area. We owe a lot to him and to the great guys at Buildings and Grounds who did the construction. The Computing Center got all of the computer systems on-line. Rebuilding this observatory has been a real community effort."
With the new dome installed, students will soon be returning to the observatory for classes. The College's telescope will also become part of a network run by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which will allow astronomers around the world to view space from Hampden-Sydney.
"The storm was a big headache," says Dr. McDermott, "but it has allowed us to continue with our goal of upgrading and improving our facility, so it was worth it in the end."
ADDING UP THE ACCOLADES
Elliott Assistant Professor of Biology Kristian Hargadon '01 received the 2012 J. Shelton Horsley Research Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia Academy of Science for original research. He was honored by the Academy for his paper "Suppression of the maturation and activation of the dendritic cell line DC2.4 by melanoma-derived factors," which was published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Cellular Immunology.
What this means, to those of us without a Ph.D. in biology, is that Dr. Hargadon is investigating how melanoma skin cancer prevents some cells from beginning the immune response to the cancer.
He has been researching immune suppression since his student days at Hampden-Sydney. When he was still an undergraduate, a post-doctoral fellow from the University of Virginia spoke at the College about similar research. Hargadon focused his own senior research project on the topic and went on to work in the same lab at UVA with the fellow who introduced him to the subject.
Dr. Hargadon says, "We do quite a lot of research at Hampden-Sydney, especially for not being a research-intensive institution. Our facilities allow us to accomplish really good work. I continue to maintain professional relationships at UVA and can access equipment there if I need to, but 80 percent of my research is done on campus. That's great for our students, too, because I have been able to involve several of them over the past three years."
Dr. Hargadon has an additional paper on melanoma under review by another journal and this spring he will be speaking at a science symposium at the prestigious Harker School in San Jose, California. He says, "I'll be one of two keynote speakers. I don't mind being one of two, since the other speaker is a Nobel Prize winner."
ODK HONORS TWO TIGERS
The accolades keep coming for Barron Frazier '12. Shortly after graduating in May, he learned that Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honorary society for leadership, named him the National Leader of the Year in Campus Life for Scholarship. This is one of only five national awards given by the prestigious organization. Barron is a summa cum laude graduate with a degree in biology. He is attending Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Meanwhile, Osric Forrest '12 was named a recipient of a scholarship from the ODK Foundation. Osric graduated summa cum laude with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. As a senior he received the Hewett Biology Award and the Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award for his honors thesis. Osric was a resident advisor and a member of the Ethics Bowl team, the President's Men, and the Society of '91 leadership program. He was president of Hampden-Sydney's chapter of Circle K International and an investigator for the Student Court. He is attending Emory University.
NEW FACULTY ON THE HILL
Eight new professors joined the ranks of the faculty this fall, including three on tenure track.
Dr. Nicholas P. Deifel, assistant professor of chemistry, earned his bachelor's degree from Kenyon College and his Ph.D. from The George Washington University. Before coming to Hampden-Sydney, he taught at Washington College. He has an article published in the October issue of Canadian Mineralogist. Dr. Deifel's graduate school research focused on Uranium-based minerals chemistry.
Dr. D. Edward Lowry, assistant professor of biology, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 2009, he has been a post-doctoral associate at Stony Brook University. He has been published in the Quarterly Review of Biology and the Journal of Biogeography, as well as other publications. He teaches ecology.
Dr. Alfonso Varona, assistant professor of modern languages, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. Before coming to Hampden-Sydney, he taught at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where he also organized the film festival Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.
At Hampden-Sydney on temporary assignment are Wanda L. Fenimore, lecturer in rhetoric; Dr. Virginia V. Lewis, lecturer of mathematics and computer science; N. Amos Rothschild, visiting assistant professor of English; Dr. Salif F. Traoré, visiting assistant professor of modern languages; and Matthew J. Willis, visiting professor of mathematics and computer science.
NEW DISC GOLF COURSE OPENS
New disc golf course opens
Students have been playing disc golf (Frisbee® golf to some) for years, usually using trees, lampposts, or other campus landmarks as goals. Players finally have a chance to take this relaxing, social game to the next level with Hampden-Sydney's new nine-hole disc golf course.
The course begins between Kirk Athletic Center and Kirby Field House. It continues around Lake Mayes to Tadpole Hole, two challenging water hazards. A dip into the woods requires accuracy from the players before the final few holes break open near the intramural fields. Players finish back where they started, just south of the baseball field.
Ricky Talman, director of TigeRec, designed the course this summer. The goals and signage were installed just before the students arrived in August.
The course is challenging enough for experienced players, but beginners can have a lot of fun too. It is open to students and community members, so everyone is invited to try out the course the next time they visit The Hill.
F Dorm is filled with students again after the completion of a yearlong renovation project. Ryan Martin ’14, Bobby Fulton ’14, Brad Mostowy ’13, and Chase Brown ’14 relax in the new common area they share. The modern configuaration is a hit with students and gives them many more options for socializing and studying.