Hampden-Sydney College and President Christopher B. Howard made the cover of the November 2013 issue of Virginia Business magazine, which focused on the success of the state’s single-sex colleges. A series of articles looked at Hampden-Sydney and the remaining women’s colleges in Virginia—Mary Baldwin, Hollins, and Sweet Briar—and how our rare environments benefit our students. President Howard told Virginia Business that even though Hampden-Sydney is proudly all male, that is not all we are. He said, “We’re proud of being a liberal arts college for men and we’re proud of being an excellent college that puts people in a position to be successful in the 21st century.”
Dr. Howard also made an argument for the liberal arts: “That is not a male thing, a female thing, a co-ed thing, or whatever. Let’s make sure that this society appreciates and understands that a lot of the people running the businesses, making the laws, and leading across civil society actually went to liberal arts colleges and got great educations.”
In response to how liberal arts education fits within the greater push for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, Dr. Howard said, “First off, it’s the liberal arts … and sciences. So there’s a lot of STEM in the liberal arts.” He adds, “We have dual agreements with Old Dominion University, with the University of Virginia. We’re about to strike up another agreement with Columbia University in New York. I always tell President Steger at Virginia Tech that we’re just going to produce a bunch of engineers who can write well and have read Pericles.”
The article goes on to discuss whether or not Hampden-Sydney has considered going co-ed. President Howard dismisses this possibility, saying the College is making a difference in young men’s lives, a difference that other schools are noticing.
He says, “Presidents from other colleges and universities call us fairly regularly and ask us, ‘What are you doing with your guys? What are you doing at Hampden-Sydney to get your guys to minor in rhetoric and major in English? We’re co-ed and big, but our guys are kind of spinning their wheels a little bit. What are you guys doing?’ That’s something that’s kind of nice to stand by.”
The entire article is available at VirginiaBusiness.com.
Two Hampden-Sydney College seniors, William David Hudson and Arley James Morelock were accepted into Teach For America (TFA). TFA is a national teacher corps of college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years and to raise student achievement in public schools. Being accepted into TFA is an outstanding achievement for Will and Arley, as this program accepts only around 11%-12% of its applicants each year.
Will, from Danville, has been assigned to teach music to K-12 students in Mississippi. He has been playing classical guitar since he was 11, and can play trumpet and, he says, “a little bit of piano.” During his interviews with TFA, he had to teach a five-minute lesson to the interviewers and the other applicants. In his lesson, he used songs to make his point about metaphor.
When he tutors students at Prince Edward Middle School through Hampden-Sydney’s Mentoring Program, he uses music to make points about similes, metaphors, rhyme, history, civil rights, or social issues. Will says, “Music, for me, is interesting to use in lessons because it gives the students a creative way to think about a topic and gives them an opportunity to really listen to the lyrics and understand what the artist is trying to communicate.”
At Hampden-Sydney, Will also has served as a Student Court Advisor and as editor of the campus literary magazine, The Garnet. He is an English major and a member of the Future Educators Club, the Pre-Law Society, Circle K, and the international honorary society in English, Sigma Tau Delta. During the summer of 2012, he studied Tudor-Stuart history and literature at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, England.
Arley, from Charlotte, has been assigned to teach high school science in Greenville, North Carolina. A Venable Scholar and chemistry major, Arley plays midfield on the varsity lacrosse team and has received Academic All-ODAC honors for three consecutive years. He is president of Sigma Chi fraternity and a Student Court Investigator. Also, he is a member of the Venture Crew and the honorary society for leadership, Omicron Delta Kappa. Arley is participating in the Wilson Center Public Service program and is working on Departmental Honors in Chemistry.
The living room of the Wilson Center, which has for years been the site of numerous informal gatherings of students, faculty, and special guests, was dedicated on October 29 as the Thukkaram Room, thanks to a generous gift by Navin Thukkaram in honor of his parents Ram and Rohini Thukkaram.
Ram Thukkaram has spent more than 30 years in manufacturing, having built a U.S. automotive supplier from 18 to 800 employees. He is a Managing Director of 13i Capital Corp., an investment firm that has purchased and operated niche market manufacturing enterprises in such diverse locations as Indiana, California, Ireland, and Germany. In 1992, Mr. Thukkaram received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was also named by President George H. W. Bush as one of eight outstanding Asian-American citizens. After he earned his bachelor’s degree in India, he sold his most valuable possession, a used motorcycle, and bought a one-way ticket to Denmark, where a job was waiting for him. Eventually he moved to Canada before settling in the United States. The former Prime Minister of Denmark and friend of the Wilson Center, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, wrote a letter to Mr. Thukkaram thanking him for his contributions to Danish industry. That letter now hangs in the Thukkaram Room of the Wilson Center.
The family of Dr. William S. Coxe ’45 was on hand October 12 for the dedication of Coxe Hall. The residence hall, formerly called F Dorm, recently underwent an extensive renovation thanks to a $1 million gift from Dr. Coxe’s estate.
Mrs. Polly Coxe, Dr. Coxe’s widow, was on hand for the formal announcement of the building’s new name. She recalled her husband’s love for Hampden-Sydney and that he and his brother, Dr. Joseph W. Coxe III ’43, attended the College during World War II, a unique time for the school. She said, “The campus had become greatly changed because of World War II; a Naval V-12 training program had been set up. Classmates in the program had separate quarters and different schedules and demands. Bill lived with six other civilians in an on-campus private home. He involved himself in many activities, including a fraternity [Chi Phi] and came to know many faculty members well.”
Both Coxe brothers went on to become surgeons; Bill Coxe was a neurosurgeon in St. Louis, Missouri, and his brother was a general surgeon in Richmond. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney summa cum laude, Bill Coxe went to the Johns Hopkins Medical School, served in the U.S. Army, and completed his residency at Northwestern University. He practiced pediatric neurosurgery in St. Louis for his entire career and led many students through their residencies with Washington University. In 2002, the University bestowed upon Dr. Coxe the Distinguished Service Award.
Mrs. Coxe said of her husband, “He felt that his four years at the College were the most important of his education.”
U.S. Army Captain Robert B. “Brad” Israel ’04 has published Faces of the Future, a book of photographs from his first tour in 2007-08 as an infantry officer in Afghanistan. Israel and his unit used photography as a nonthreatening way to interact with and to gain the trust of the local peoples.
“They had never seen digital cameras, and we had a little, instant printer that we could plug into a Humvee and print out family portraits, if you want to call it that, for these tribesmen and their families, excluding the women. They loved it.”
In addition to taking photographs, Israel’s unit provided hygiene classes, winter clothes, and school supplies. He says much of what they distributed to the Afghans were donated by families and friends from back home in the United States, even by students from Hampden-Sydney.
Israel took more than 2,000 photographs during the 15-month deployment, so selecting only the best for the book was a tough process. Ultimately, he decided that focusing on the children of the region would show more of the goodness and humanity of the Afghan people.
Though Israel started these projects to gain the trust of the Afghans, they also helped young soldiers in his unit to see the local citizens as real people worth protecting. “It allowed all of the guys I was with to get involved and to get invested and to keep humanity in their minds, because day-in, day-out conflict in a hostile environment can quickly change your perspective and damage your emotions.”
From conception to execution, Faces of the Future has been a Hampden-Sydney project. The book was edited by his brother Will Israel ’03, and designed by Hampden-Sydney’s Director of Publications Richard McClintock. Israel’s classmate Andrew Reed ’04 printed the book, and President Emeritus Samuel V. Wilson, himself a distinguished soldier, wrote the foreword.
Israel is back in the United States and transitioning out of the Army. He and his family are moving back to his home of Mobile, Alabama, where he will be working in commercial real estate.
Faces of the Future is available on Amazon.com and at the Hampden-Sydney Bookstore.