On the Hill


The second annual C Day, held on September 10, was a tremendous success. More than 800 students attended opening convocation in Everett Stadium.

Justin Pugh ’14, who was sworn in as student body president, told the students that he is working with other student leaders to create more social opportunities and student activities on The Hill. He added that the student body is more unified after working through a turbulent period last year.

“A new beginning” is how Ned Bowden ’14 described Hampden- Sydney College’s opportunities in his Charge to New Students. He described himself as an average high school student who blossomed after arriving at the College and encouraged the freshmen and transfers to find their places and to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

The class meetings that occurred immediately following convocation featured advice for seniors from Thad Shelly ’75, a ring and coin ceremony for juniors with Tulane Patterson ’78, the sophomore pinning ceremony with Hiter Harris ’83, and words of encouragement for the freshmen from John Axsom ’05.

That afternoon, the entire freshman class went out into the community for a range of service projects. They moved hospital beds and medical supplies at the Free Clinic and landscaped the Moton Museum. They built doghouses and bed frames that Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will sell to raise money for the next home construction project. They repaired and cleaned barns, fences, and fields at two horse rescue facilities and refurbished raised plant beds at Prince Edward County Elementary School for children’s science classes.

One of the most moving and enjoyable projects was visiting and playing games with residents of the Woodlands retirement community. One Woodlands staff member wrote: “Once again the students were a hit! They showed such a high level of patience and respect for our residents. Everyone loves it when the guys come out here. I pointed out one resident to several of the guys; she was laughing so hard at them while they were playing a certain game. They had no idea that she rarely shows such positive emotion like she did for them.”


Hampden-Sydney College has entered into another special arrangement with a prestigious graduate school. On August 16, the College and the Mason School of Business at The College of William & Mary signed an early-admission agreement for the Master of Accounting Program.

Under the agreement, the President and Provost of Hampden-Sydney may nominate up to five Hampden-Sydney students in their junior or senior year to enjoy an application-fee waiver and automatic advancement to the interview round. If nominated students gain admission to the MAcc program, then they may choose to participate in the MAcc summer intensive classes as a way to fulfill the MAcc prerequisites in the summer of either their junior or senior year. Once admitted students have confirmed that they will attend the MAcc program, they will have access to The College of William & Mary’s Cohen Career Center.

“This is a great resource for our students,” says Dr. Dennis G. Stevens, provost and dean of the faculty. “William & Mary is a distinguished institution and this mutual agreement shows just how well respected Hampden-Sydney graduates are.”

Hampden-Sydney College has similar arrangements with the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.


You may get a call from a Hampden-Sydney student wanting to talk about some of your experiences on The Hill. Seven freshmen, working with their advisor Dr. Caroline Emmons, are collecting oral histories of the Civil Rights movement on and around Hampden- Sydney during the 1950s and ’60s.

The project is part of a pilot program to promote engaged learning among freshmen. As a history professor, Dr. Emmons is using the program to introduce the new students to the significant events of Prince Edward County and to Hampden-Sydney alumni. Other professors are focusing on topics such as understanding and appreciating nature, the plight of hunger in the community and elementary schools, and the issue of race relations.

The freshmen in Dr. Emmons’ group will each interview an alumnus about Civil Rights issues of the community, including the closing of the public schools, the relationships between white and black members of the community, and the conversation of race on campus. Dr. Emmons sees this project as a benefit to both the students and the alumni: “Students get the practice of participating in a professional setting with an adult they don’t know, to learn more about the College, and to get to know other new students in the program. Of course, alumni will get the chance to recall their role in this important period of American history and to interact with current students.”

For years, Dr. Emmons has used oral history as a component of her class on the late 20th century. She hopes that her experiment this fall will lead to collecting more alumni stories and expanding the collection of College history.

“The Atkinson Museum and its director, Angie Way, have done a good job collecting the materials of much of the College’s history,” says Emmons. “Cy Dillon, director of the Bortz Library, and I are excited to bolster this aspect of Hampden-Sydney’s history, to develop this repository of primary sources.”

Any alumni interested in sharing their stories for this project or similar projects in the future should contact Dr. Caroline Emmons at cemmons@hsc.edu.


Just as the new academic year was beginning, Dr. Walter C. “Mike” McDermott III and Alex Angermeier ’14 attended the 2013 International Conference on Applications of the Mössbauer Effect in Opatia, Croatia. The Mössbauer Effect has to do with how atomic nuclei in solids emit and absorb gamma radiation.

Both Dr. McDermott and Angermeier presented research projects at the conference. Alex says, “I am so proud that Dr. McDermott and I were able to travel together for this conference. You just don’t get opportunities like this at big schools. Though he is definitely my professor, we had the chance to work as colleagues—as peers—at this conference. It was a wonderful academic and cultural experience.”


John Wirges ’15 has been building character and developing leadership skills for years, as an Eagle Scout, an Army ROTC cadet, and a Freshman Peer Advisor. It came as no surprise in June when he was one of only two students in the country appointed to the Board of Directors of the Character Education Partnership. The CEP works with schools across the nation to develop strategies that reinforce academic excellence and foster respect, responsibility, honesty, diligence, service, and citizenship.

Wirges is majoring in Foreign Affairs and minoring in both Military Leadership and National Security and Rhetoric. He is a recipient of the Madison Honors Scholarship and two Project “Global Officers” scholarships for the study of the Kiswahili language. Along with Josh Gaskill ’15, Wirges held an internship with Carolina for Kiberia, a non-profit organization in the Kiberia slum of Nairobi.

He says character and tradition are extremely important to the Maa culture: “Character is possibly the most important lesson a young adult can receive through his or her development. Without morals and integrity, society does not stand a chance of having prosperity; lessons on the importance of character can be found going all the way back to Plato’s Republic. Character education starts with the family and is cemented by schooling, and primary and secondary schools around the country should be doing more to ensure the sound development of honor and morals among their students, just as Hampden- Sydney does.”

After graduating, John plans on commissioning into the U.S. Army.


Follow the Hampden-Sydney Boys as they head off to battle in First In War: The Hampden-Sydney Boys, a new historical account by retired College Chaplain Rev. William Thompson. First In War chronicles the formation and story of Company G, 20th Virginia Infantry Regiment of the Confederate Army, the first college-boy company to exchange fire with enemy soldiers during the Civil War. Rev. Thompson’s book includes quotations from numerous diaries, letters, and memoirs, as well as a complete roster of the 96 company members. The Hampden-Sydney Boys began drilling on campus in November 1860. Within one year they had engaged the enemy, been captured, paroled, and returned to campus in time for September classes. First In War is available at the Hampden-Sydney College bookstore.


Many Hampden-Sydney students develop an affinity for bow ties and Hillman Terzian ’08 was one such student. He has amassed quite a collection and wears them regularly. Recently, he won a contest held by Beau Ties, Ltd., when the company selected his submission “Churchill Circus” for the name of a new design (which he is wearing at right). Then he was asked by Creative Living magazine to prepare a guide for tying a bow tie. Hillman says, “Apparently I am carving out a niche as a bow tie expert.”


As it enters its fourth year, the Hampden-Sydney Music Series is hitting a purposeful stride. The Series will host seven performances, including three piano recitals, a world-famous string quartet, and an array of folk music.

Music professor David Salvage says, “I reached out to three or four people to come and then some good people approached us to play.”

In previous years, the Music Series has hosted a variety of musicians, including the likes of John Ferrillo (with Hampden-Sydney’s own Mary Ann Archer), the principal oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Monticello String Quartet. The Series has featured music from Japanese Noh theatre, and last year the Series focused on works for the acoustic guitar.

This February, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, the conductor laureate of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and the principal guest conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, will be performing in February. Solzhenitsyn is friends with Professor James Pontuso and the event will be co-produced by the Wilson Center for Leadership. In March, the world-famous Talich Quartet will take the stage. The Czech Republicbased quartet is regularly recognized as one of Europe’s leading ensembles. Peter Takács, who has released the only truly complete recording of all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, will be here in April. Professor Salvage also is working with Parker Dunaway ’15 to book musicians for the American acoustic portion of the Music Series.

Salvage says, “These concerts show the students that this is a world—the classical music world—that is viable, that is out there. It is still ongoing. People still play this music. People still write this music, love this music, and so forth. It brings a less accessible world to them. Classical music simply is not as ‘out there’ as popular music and country music.”

The impressive list of this year’s performers also shines a light on Hampden-Sydney’s outstanding performance space. Salvage says, “Crawley Forum is recognized as a desirable place to perform and hear music. The room is a good size for three- and four-piece groups and it is visually attractive. The biggest benefit for music lovers, though, is that the acoustics are great.”

Having such amazing musicians on campus is the perfect opportunity for students to put into practice what they are learning about musical form.

“Part of what college is all about is exposing students to more complex ideas, more complex texts then they have been. The math is more complex; the chemistry is more complex. In music, it’s the same thing. Through the Music Series and our music classes, we want to expose students to complex musical structures, whether or not that’s what they are going to listen to for the rest of their lives. Are our students going to be reading Milton for the rest of their lives? I don’t really think so, but it’s important that they get exposure to something so rich and complex.”

The Music Series is just another facet to Hampden-Sydney’s commitment to providing a liberal education. We require our students to examine the world around them from multiple perspectives and to use what they learn to live more fulfilled lives.

“We need to challenge them,” adds Salvage. “Shakespeare’s language is still English. It uses a lot of words that you know, and that’s the same as a very complex piece of music by Brahms. His tonal language is still the language of Jimi Hendrix or whomever; it’s a similar bunch of materials, just an extremely sophisticated use of those materials. It’s hard without music theory to get your hands dirty and understand what those materials are; however, with form and historical context we can make some progress.”

For the latest information on the Hampden- Sydney Music Series, check it out online here: http://bit.ly/199NAHc.