On the Hill

Tigers Tame Contentious Issues

Civil conversationThe ruthless world of politics received a much-needed dose of civility on the evening of March 20 as four Hampden-Sydney alumni from both political parties gathered on The Hill for “A Civil Conversation.”

The speakers included Republican U.S. Congressman Robert Hurt ’91; Charles Payne, Jr. ’88, a shareholder with the law firm Hirschler Fleischer and former general counsel to the U.S. Small Business Administration during the Clinton Administration; Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones ’86; and Eugene Hickok, Jr. ’72, the senior policy consultant with Whiteboard Advisors and former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Education.

Payne said of the event: “I believe we all have a responsibility to respect and appreciate the points of view of those with whom we disagree. Our strength as a nation is how different we all are, and how different our perspectives and viewpoints can be, although our one common denominator as a country has and will always be, as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently wrote, ‘…that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ If we quash the independent points of view of those with whom we differ, then we simply have quashed the virtues of who we are as Americans, especially at a time when we need great ideas.”

The discussion was sponsored by the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest.

Student Writers Head West to Seattle to Attend Conference

by Will Hudson ’14

H-S Poetry ReviewOn February 26, Professor Nathaniel Perry took the assistant editors of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Seattle, Washington. For five days, Devin Baker ’14, Johnathan Campbell ’16, Will Hudson ’14, and Christopher Williams-Morales ’17 had the opportunity to meet publishers and editors who gave advice on careers and how to improve their writing skills. They attended panels hosted by professional writers with topics ranging from how to write about an experience in the Peace Corps to writing free verse poetry. The students also had the opportunity to inform hundreds of people about the Poetry Review and Hampden-Sydney College while working at the book fair.

The AWP book fair is the main reason for the trip; it takes place in two massive rooms in the conference center and is filled with hundreds of tables representing various magazines and publishing houses. Each table has vendors who sell their products to the public, and under Professor Perry’s leadership for the past six years, the Poetry Review is becoming a growing institution at the conference. The book fair provides the opportunity for first-time readers from all over the country, as well as loyal fans, to talk to Professor Perry and the staff about the current issue and submitting poems for the future.

Because of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review’s success in the world of literary reviews—having published poets like A.E. Stallings and Pulitzer Prize winner Claudia Emerson—it has become a steady draw at the book fair. Readers respond positively to the more traditional poetry selected by the editors for the review, and this year, the excitement was enhanced by allowing patrons to design a cover for the book. Perry chose to leave all the covers blank, and before the conference, had people from elementary school students to professional artists create individual cover art with felt markers. The one catch is people could not keep their own. Instead, the artist signs the back of the book and it is sold to someone else. The hand-drawn covers caught the eyes of passersby and they would want to draw a cover themselves. In the process, they also learned about the Review and would, more often than not, buy a copy of their own.

Apart from the book fair, Perry encouraged the four students to explore the conference, attend panels, and meet other writers. For Devin Baker, the experience was useful both as an artist and a student. While meeting with filmmakers, Devin found a confidence in his art and was no longer “afraid to experiment with my craft and to use my voice...despite how much push back I may get.” Johnathan Campbell met with several poets, some of whom even read his work and gave him pointers on how to be published in a major literary journal. Not all of the networking was artist driven, however. Christopher and I found ourselves mostly meeting with lawyers and publishers discussing the business side of writing.

The AWP Conference not only helps students with their future creative endeavors, but it also has immediate benefits to careers at H-SC. Being surrounded by professionals at the top of the writing field for a long weekend forced the students to think about their own writing and research. This year, each student left the conference physically exhausted but eager to apply lessons learned to their school work. The students of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review would also like to thank the school for providing travel and lodging funds for this experience.

H-SC Student Receives Keith Berwick Scholarship

John Wirges ’15 was awarded the first Keith Berwick Endowed Scholarship for Enlightened Leadership on February 21, 2014. This scholarship is given to a student who demonstrates the noble character, leadership, empathy, wisdom, and commitment to serving humanity that are the hallmarks of Berwick’s life.

Keith Berwick and John WirgesEstablished by friends, students, and colleagues of Keith Berwick, this scholarship recognizes and honors Berwick’s leadership and service on the occasion of his 85th birthday. The founding executive director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program at the Aspen Institute, Berwick has enjoyed a stellar career as an educator, historian, publisher, broadcaster, and editor. A four-time Emmy winner for his television work, he is also an accomplished author of historical works relating to the founding of America.

Hampden-Sydney President Christopher Howard, who was in the second class of Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellows, said, “John is a worthy recipient of this scholarship which honors my friend and mentor, Keith Berwick. John is one of Hampden-Sydney’s finest and will bring honor to Keith as he has to the College.”

Among a long list of activities, John is a member of ROTC, the President’s Leadership Council, the Board of Publications, the Society for Collegiate Journalists, and the social fraternity Chi Phi. He was elected general manager of the student-run radio station and was responsible for bringing Tiger Radio online. John spent the summer of 2013 in Kenya on a Department of Defense-funded study-abroad program, learning the Swahili language and politics and culture of Kenya. He is pursing a major in Foreign Affairs, with minors in Rhetoric and Military Leadership and National Security.

Chemistry Major Awarded National Scholarship

The Chemistry Department is reacting to the news that Lee Ayscue ’15, a chemistry major from Lynchburg, has been named a 2014 Barry Goldwater Scholar, one of only six Virginians to receive the award this year.

Lee AyscueThe Goldwater Scholarship is awarded to students who have displayed outstanding potential and intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. This year, the Goldwater Foundation, which was endowed in 1989 by an act of Congress, has awarded 282 scholarships nationally from a pool of more than 1200 applicants.

Lee says, “I was very surprised and excited to be recognized to receive such a prestigious honor. Receiving the Goldwater award has strengthened and amplified my interest, drive, and ambitions in scientific research. Even though I am the recipient of the Goldwater award, the honor of this award also belongs to all those who made this extraordinary opportunity possible. The incredible amount of support and effort that

I received from the Office of Fellowship Advising during the construction and review of my application was the key to my success. The education and opportunities that Hampden-Sydney College offers are unmatched because of the devotion of its faculty and staff to the students. I am truly blessed and very thankful for the full support of my family, friends, and Hampden-Sydney community.“

Lee is a Patrick Henry Scholar at Hampden-Sydney and a member of the swim team. He plans on pursuing a departmental honors research project in chemistry focusing on the synthesis of catalytic compounds that have potential application in a reaction that recycles carbon dioxide emissions. After he graduates, he plans on going to graduate school to study catalysis, combustion chemistry, or hazardous materials management.

He says, “My interest in chemistry has been significantly influenced by excellent science teachers throughout my academic career and my father’s profession as the hazardous materials captain for the Lynchburg City Fire Department.”