Alumni Salute Rhetoric Students

Learning to write clearly, to capture ideas in words, and to persuade the reader have been cornerstones of young men’s Hampden-Sydney education for more than 30 years. More than two-thirds of our alumni have toiled through the Rhetoric Program and finished as better writers and stronger students. Now, each year, we recognize the faculty who pushed us to be our best, and we encourage current Hampden-Sydney students to strive toward excellence as they sit down to complete the required Rhetoric Proficiency Exam. This is the essence of the annual RPE Toast.

Rhetoric Toast Locations

On March 25, 2014, alumni gathered at homes and in restaurants across the country and around the globe—even atop the Duke University chapel—to recall their Hampden- Sydney days and to send their best wishes to the students taking the exam that night. At the College, faculty and staff gathered at the Tiger Inn for their own celebration and to watch photographs come in from the event locations.

Rhetoric Professor Elizabeth Deis says, “We were thrilled to see pictures of many alumni whom we hadn’t seen for some time. It is also wonderful to see the Rhetoric Program recognized in this way. We have confidence in the value of the program, but it’s always good to see evidence of the extent to which our students and alumni remember it as an important and valuable part of an H-SC education.”

Alumni are encouraged to attend or host a Rhetoric Proficiency Exam Toast next year. It is a quick and easy way to get together with fellow Hampden-Sydney alumni and to reflect on how the College helped form the men we know today.

For more information, call or e-mail Alumni Relations Coordinator Grace Toney at or (434) 223-6776.

A Toast to the H-SC RPE Program
Kevin E. Martingayle '88

Here’s to the man who understands that prepositions
do not belong at the ends of sentences, and that
the question: “Where are you?” does not require “at”;

Here’s to the Hampden-Sydney professors
who taught us that splitting infinitives is a sad habit of lazy fools
and grammar abusers that must be avoided at all costs;

Here’s to a tradition that equips our students with
an ability to choose intelligently when pondering who versus whom
which versus that, lay versus lie, and countless other words
and phrases that the masses torture daily;

Here’s to the graduate who knows how to construct a sentence
that coordinates singular and plural, puts apostrophes where they belong,
and never leaves his modifiers dangling for the world to see.

To our beloved Hampden-Sydney College... may our alma mater 
remain elegant, eloquent, and loquacious, forever. Amen. Cheers!