John L. Brinkley '59, retired professor of classics, passed away on September 14, 2012.
Professor Brinkley graduated summa cum laude and first in his class at Hampden-Sydney College. As a student he was active in several organizations, including the Union-Philanthropic Literary Society and the Tiger. He was Hampden-Sydney's first Rhodes Scholar and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Trinity College, Oxford, as well as a master's degree from Princeton University. In 1967, he returned to Hampden-Sydney's Classics Department to teach. Professor Brinkley remained at the College until his retirement in 2007.
He was an institution at Hampden-Sydney, in and out of the classroom. In addition to teaching classes such as Latin, Roman history, and mythology, he served as Clerk of the Faculty and as College Historian for decades. His definitive history of the College, On this Hill: A Narrative History of Hampden-Sydney College 1774-1994, was published in 1994. Professor Brinkley was a faculty advisor to Kappa Sigma fraternity and became an honorary brother. During his career he was recognized with numerous accolades, including the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, the first Hubard Award, the first Crawley Award, and the Keating Medallion.
Professor Brinkley was a tireless supporter of Hampden-Sydney athletics, particularly baseball, football, and lacrosse. When he was not on the sidelines of a football game, he could be found watching the baseball team from behind home plate, giving helpful advice to the umpire. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hampden-Sydney College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Professor Brinkley had a profound influence on decades of Hampden-Sydney men. From his residence on Fraternity Circle to his book-filled office in Morton Hall, his life was this College and its students.