Alumni Activities

by Mark Meitz ’95, Director of Alumni Relations

Founders reception

Three talented Hampden-Sydney alumni—from left with President Chris Howard, John Higgs ’61, Christopher Mize ’89, and Taylor Smack ’97—shared those talents with members of the Board of Trustees in February. Each brought samples of his work to be enjoyed at a Friday-night reception. Mr. Higgs, the owner and operator of Barren Ridge Vineyards in Fishersville, brought a selection of his wines. Mr. Mize, "Virginia's Wine Artist," is a painter who specializes in wine-themed artwork. Finally, Mr. Smack, the owner and brewmaster of Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, brought a selection of his beers. The Trustees and their guests were excited to learn first-hand about the work these men are doing around the Commonwealth.

Our alumni clubs moved into 2012 celebrating a great year for the college while renewing old friendships and starting new ones at a variety of holiday events. Of particular note, The New York City Club turned out to fill the room and welcomed Dr. and Mrs. Howard as well as Dean of the Faculty Robert Herdegen to Manhattan. Building on the momentum from that event, the club will be gathering regularly and holding other special events moving forward.

In Richmond, Founders enjoyed their annual holiday Cocktail Party at the Jefferson Hotel. This year, the club’s Young Alumni Leadership Team hosted a party at Blackfinn Restaurant downtown. That event complemented their regular gatherings, which take place on the second Wednesday of each month. These meetings are a great opportunity to enjoy some fellowship with fellow Hampden-Sydney men.

As a reminder, a ‘young’ alumnus is anyone who can still make it out for an hour or so at the end of a work day. The Richmond Club did not miss a beat, resuming their regular lunch meetings in January with Football All-American and Trustee Hiter Harris ’83 speaking about excellence, commitment, and out-working the opposition.  

That evening Dr. Howard and the new vice president for institutional advancement, Dr. Lee King ’94, addressed the South Hampton Roads Club during their annual banquet at The Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. The group discussed successful events over the past year and outlined the plan for continued success in the coming year. The Club went to work on that plan quickly hosting a pre-game gathering and supporting Tiger basketball as the team faced Virginia Wesleyan. At The Club’s February luncheon Director of Admissions Jason Ferguson ’96 gave an update on the Class of 2016.

The Lynchburg Club also continued their commitment to supporting Tiger athletics with gatherings before basketball games at Lynchburg and Randolph. Some Lynchburg alumni even joined the Southside Club in welcoming prospective students to a pre-game reception in Kirby Field House prior to our victory over W&L. Each March, the Lynchburg Club holds its Spring Gala and freshman yield event at Boonsboro Country Club with Dean of Admissions Anita Garland.

In what has become an annual event for the Peninsula Club, Ray Bottom ’52 welcomed alumni and prospective students to the James River Country Club. While the alumni heard remarks from Dr. King, Dr. David E. Marion, Mr. Ferguson, and Mrs. Barbara Howard addressed prospective students and parents in the side parlor.

Dr. Jeff Clifton ’83 and his wife Patti (parents of Patrick ’13 and Christian ’15) hosted a similar event for The Danville Club. Dean Anita Garland presented accepted students from the area to local alumni and then facilitated an open discussion, which allowed graduates to reflect upon fun times, hard work, and, most importantly, what it means to be a Hampden-Sydney Man. With that group, one thing was for certain: a Hampden-Sydney Man definitely has a good memory, and, fortunately, a good sense of humor to accompany it.

Wrapping up our winter summary are a couple of clubs outside of the Commonwealth. In Mobile, Alabama, local alumni welcomed Dr. Howard, Assistant Dean of Admissions Mac Hazel ’11, and me with fantastic seafood and hospitality. Many in attendance were amazed to learn that University of Alabama’s transformational president, George Denny (for whom Bryant–Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes are named), was a member of the Hampden-Sydney Class of 1891.

Founders from the Charlotte Club were treated to a luncheon with Dr. James Y. Simms, Professor Emeritus of History & Director of Military Leadership and National Security Studies Program. Using historical data and many years of observation, Dr. Simms discussed how Hampden-Sydney has changed over the years. Then, with the same passion and candor that endeared him to us as students, he charged us to sustain our mission.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the events mentioned here, other upcoming events, or becoming part of our Alumni Association please e-mail or call: or (434) 223-6776.

Founders Dinner

At the Founders Christmas event in Richmond at the Jefferson Hotel: Aaron Marks ’98, Watson Mulkey ’08, Trey Keeler ’08, Joann Tyler, Ray Barnhill ’80, and Wesley Julian ’08.