On the Hill

Leggett Pool

Leggett Pool looks brand new, thanks to extensive renovations completed during the past year. Not only was the entire deck resurfaced, but also the pool was drained and repainted. The swim team can now host intercollegiate meets with the installation of starting blocks and a timing system. The entire overhaul was topped off with new carpeting in the viewing area, freshly painted walls, and a display showing Hampden-Sydney's top swimmers and college records. Ford Scott '16, James Simon '16, Treavor Hartwell '16, Ke Shang '13, Evan Harris '16 and their teammates are excited about the improvements and their success in the pool this past season.


ETHICS BOWL TEAM REPEATS AT VFIC TOURNEY

Ethics BowlFor the second consecutive year, Hampden-Sydney College has won the statewide Ethics Bowl. Students from 15 independent colleges and universities participated in the 2013 Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl at Randolph College. For the competition, which is a program of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, the teams deliberated case studies with ethical dilemmas related to ethics and social media. The teams presented their analyses, positions, and recommendations to panels of judges composed of business, professional, and educational leaders from across the state.

Hampden-Sydney brought home the Batten Trophy this year after winning the final round against Washington & Lee University. Hampden-Sydney's team members come from a variety of disciplines. Christopher Deen '13 is a philosophy and government & foreign affairs double major and Baker Allen '14 is an economics major. Ryan Rivas '15 is a double major in biology and philosophy, while Will Brantley '16 intends to be a double major in history and English.
Deen, a veteran of the Ethics Bowl, says, "This is an outstanding program that pits our Hampden-Sydney education against a wide variety of schools. It makes all of us proud to represent the College and to win the competition for the second year."

Philosophy professors Dr. Marc A. Hight and Dr. James J. Janowski are the faculty coordinators for the team. The team received additional support from many faculty and staff who volunteered to serve as mock judges and from the Union Philanthropic Society who helped train the team.

 

BALEEN RESEARCH SNAGS SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERIES

Alex WerthTwice in recent months, Dr. Alexander Werth, Venable Professor of Biology, has made headlines for his research on whales.

The baleen many whales use to eat is more complex than originally thought, according to new research by Dr. Werth. Whales with a section of baleen use the structure as a filter to collect food. They take a gulp of seawater and push it back out through the baleen. After the water is gone, tiny animals are left behind for

the whale to eat. After conducting field work in Alaska and research in his lab on campus, Werth determined that the conventional wisdom about baleen was wrong. It is not static material; it is highly mobile material that tangles to form a highly effective food net, particularly at the whale's natural swimming speed. The results of his research appear in The Journal of Experimental Biology.

Werth's discovery drew the attention of many media outlets, including Science, Discover Magazine, New Scientist Magazine, the BBC, the CBC, Science News, Live Science, Scientific American, and Le Monde.

Meanwhile, Werth is getting additional attention for a discovery he made while dissecting a bowhead whale following a government-sanctioned hunt by Inupiat whale hunters on Alaska's North Slope. As the hunters sliced the whale head, Werth and his colleagues noticed a large organ (corpus cavernosum maxillaris) running along the roof of the whale's mouth. It turns out this enormous, previously unreported organ serves two purposes: it helps keep the whale brain cool (remember they have a thick layer of blubber) and it helps the whale decide if there are enough tiny animals floating around in a mouthful of seawater to warrant using the energy to push it through the filtering baleen.

Werth is publishing the article "An Intraoral Thermoregulatory Organ in the Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus), the Corpus Cavernosum Maxillaris" in The Anatomical Record. News of this newly found organ was reported by Carl Zimmer in National Geographic Magazine.

 

BSA CHIEF STOPS BY MERIT BADGE WEEKEND

Hundreds of teenage boys descended on Hampden-Sydney in February for the second Merit Badge Weekend. They were on hand to earn merit badges necessary for the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America: Eagle Scout. As a special bonus, Wayne Brock, Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, stopped by the event to offer words of encouragement.

Mr. Brock was the guest of honor at a reception at Middlecourt, the home of President and Mrs. Howard. He met with Eagle Scouts who are currently students at the college and while there shared his excitement for the Boys Scout's new adventure park, The Summit, opening this year in West Virginia. The new park will be the permanent home of the Boy Scout National Jamboree. He also remarked on the similarities between the missions of the Boys Scouts of America and of Hampden-Sydney College. Following the reception, Brock addressed the area Boy Scouts camping on Hampden-Sydney's campus for the weekend.

The purpose of the weekend is to benefit the Boy Scouts, but it was also a great opportunity for Hampden-Sydney students, faculty, staff, and alumni to interact with and to teach the Scouts. Members of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional science fraternity, taught the Chemistry and Electronics merit badges. The Sports merit badge was taught by members of the rugby and football teams. For the second year, fine arts student Jay Brandt '15 taught the Photography merit badge. Members of the Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department taught Fire Safety, while current Hampden-Sydney Eagle Scouts taught Scouting Heritage.

Robb Koether, Professor of mathematics & computer science, taught Computers; Ken Townsend, Elliott Professor of Economics & Business, taught American Business; and Jonathan Keohane, associate professor of physics & astronomy, taught Astronomy. Director of External Relations at the Wilson Center for Leadership L. Rucker Snead '81 taught Citizenship in the World, and Campus Security Officer Noel Malave taught Crime Prevention. Alumni also participated: Bill Muse '70, senior assistant state attorney and chairman of the Virginia Parole Board, taught the Law Merit Badge. Dr. Rob Wade '91 taught the Medicine merit badge.

Sean Clark '14 coordinated student volunteers. Organizations out in full force for the weekend were Theta Chi Fraternity, members of the Pi Kappa Alpha Colony, and the Rotaract Club, as well as almost all the thirty-five Eagle Scouts in the freshman class.

The entire weekend was directed by Randy Reed '82, a major gifts officer at Hampden-Sydney. He is excited with the turnout this year and hopes to reach 300 Scouts on hand in 2014.

Hampden-Sydney College has recently established a $5,000 honor scholarship for any Eagle Scout who attends the College. If you know a Boy Scout in your area who might make a great Tiger, contact the Admissions Office at (800) 755-0733.

 

NSF GRANT SENDS SHEAR ON THE HUNT

Hampden-Sydney's resident bug expert will soon be scouring the globe looking for millipedes, thanks to a large grant from the National Science Foundation. Dr. William A. Shear of the Biology Department is part of a research group with members from Auburn University, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, and international collaborators from Denmark, South Africa, Mexico, as well as other countries. The research group was awarded $585,000 to create a phylogenetic diagram for the Class Diplopoda (millipedes), a globally important and megadiverse group of arthropods.

"Species from the Class Diplopoda live in ecosystems around the world," says Shear. "This research should give us clues as to how these different ecosystems have affected their evolution."

Dr. Shear will participate in collecting and identifying many of the more than 100 species involved. To do so, he will travel to various locations in North America, Costa Rica, Thailand, and South Africa. Also, he will study the chemical defenses of millipedes with Dr. Tappey Jones of the Virginia Military Institute Chemistry Department.

Dr. Shear is the author of over 200 scientific papers and book chapters, and as a taxonomist has named and described more than 300 previously unknown species. He is also known for his paleontological work on Devonian terrestrial ecosystems.

Lacrosse at night

Friday, March 22, marked the first night game on Hellmuth-Pritzlaff Field, Hampden-Sydney's artificial turf field. Despite the cold temperature, many fans turned out to watch the Tigers lacrosse team defeat Randolph-Macon 14-9. The new lights will give lacrosse and soccer teams greater flexibility when scheduling games and practices.

SENIOR BIOLOGY RESEARCH EARNS GRANT FUNDS

Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, awarded Yonathan Ararso, a senior biology major, a Grant-in-Aid of Research to support his Senior Honors Project. He received the maximum $1,000 grant for his proposal entitled "An shRNA-mediated RNA Silencing Approach to Understand the Role of Melanoma-derived Factors in the Suppression of Dendritic Cell Maturation and Activation."

This past summer, Ararso worked in the laboratory of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow in New York. After graduating in May, he hopes to pursue a joint Ph.D.-M.D. in infectious diseases.

 

EARLY SUCCESS FOR H-SC SHOOTERS

Ben GillisThe competition team of the Clay Target Club took a podium finish at the 2012 Scholastic Clay Target Program Collegiate Southeastern Regional Championships held November 2-4 in Nashville. The team registered in Division III but when they arrived they were placed in Division II competing against much larger schools and more established teams, such as Purdue University, Missouri State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and the University of Delaware. Out of the six teams in Division II, H-SC placed second overall in the combined skeet, trap and sporting clays. Braxton Elliot '13 placed second in Division II for skeet.

"We are thrilled with how well this team has come together in such a short period of time," says Elliott of the club he founded last year. "Despite facing larger, better-funded teams, Hampden-Sydney came out strong and finished near the top of the field. For such a young organization, that is very impressive."

The Clay Target Club is one of the few campus organizations that can be somewhat self-sustaining. Each school in this tournament received $5,000 and Hampden-Sydney's team received an additional $4,000 for placing second. This money has gone into an endowment for the team.

This winter, the team competed at Radford University, placing second behind George Mason University. A member of the team placed either first or second in every event at the shoot, and Cody Bailey '15 had the overall high individual score of the day.


A NEW LOOK FOR A YOUNG TIGER

Richmond Magazine chose Brandon Gouffon '09 to undergo a fashion makeover and shared the results with its readers. The former Tiger footballer was spotted by stylist Diane Seaman while he coached a high school game. Gouffon went from long hair, t-shirts, and sneakers to a trim 'do, a sharp blazer, and a pair of wing-tip boots.

Brandon Gouffon