Walking up the topmost flight of steps in Cushing Hall, a handful of students has the privilege of peering into the dusty attic of the oldest continuously used four-story dormitory in the country for a firsthand view of the College’s history. Inside lie thousand-pound, 40-ft. ceiling joists cut from local trees during construction in 1822-1824. Ashes from early fireplaces are found under the floorboards. Upon closer inspection of the rafters, students and visitors read the initials and inscriptions of occupants long passed.
It is one of the on-campus tours led by Professor Mary Prevo, who with Dr. Richard McClintock advises the Architectural Society through the Department of Fine Arts. Founded in 2003, the society holds regular meetings, during which they examine old blueprints and drawings, discuss architectural history, and plan for future events. The society sponsors speakers, talks with builders and contractors, and builds architectural models.
Some speakers are H-SC graduates who return to describe their career paths toward architecture; some were fine arts majors, others history majors, and some were economics majors. Student members also have travelled to historical buildings as far away as Charleston, South Carolina, to the Drayton Hall plantation house, the oldest example of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States and one of only a few pre-Revolutionary homes still in near-original condition. It is overseen by H-SC graduate Dr. Carter Hudgins ’00.
There is no architecture major available at the College. Many former society members, however, have careers in architecture, historic preservation, and urban planning. To pursue an advanced degree in architecture, Prevo suggests a student should have an understanding of calculus, history, art and architectural history, photography, drawing, and other topics—he should have a well-rounded education, which H-SC provides. A major in history with a minor in visual arts, for example, will help a student prepare for historic preservation. If a student wants to pursue architecture, H-SC provides detailed course planning through the H-SC Career Tiger Track program.
This year’s club activities will include “deconstructs of the campus one building at a time,” during which students will explore the basements, attics, and other areas of buildings normally closed to the public. They will examine brickwork and woodwork, architecture styles, blueprints, and buildings’ structural integrity. There will also be more speakers, excursions— and perhaps some long evenings discussing history through the eyes of the men who built the College.
The beginning of the 2014-15 school year started with freshmen matriculation in the Walter M. Bortz III Library. Shuffling through the lobby in single file, the Class of 2018 picked up their campus directories, registered their bicycles and cars, met with financial aid representatives, and officially enrolled at their new home on The Hill. The next few days of orientation, culminating in the third annual C Day on August 26, 2014, prepared them and the returning students for a new semester of moral and intellectual development.
The new Class of 2018 is “the most selective class we have ever had at Hampden-Sydney,” said Dean of Admissions Anita Garland during her address on the front lawn of Venable. The new class numbered 322 freshmen, arriving from twenty-one states, as well as the countries and territories of Angola, bermuda, brazil, Columbia, Italy, Mexico, and Sweden. Most are from Virginia, however.
Sixteen are legacy students, having fathers who are Hampden-Sydney alumni. Seven have grandfathers who attended. Twelve have brothers who have attended or are attending the College, thirty-six have at least one other close relative who has attended, and 253 are beginning their family’s legacy at Hampden- Sydney.
Discussions on personal health, wellness, and safety, as well as meetings with academic advisors and an introduction to The Good Men Plan filled the rest of the afternoon. Freshmen bade farewell to their parents and that evening met in Johns Auditorium for the Honor Convocation. It was there that the Class of 2018 signed the pledge, being formally welcomed into the Hampden-Sydney College brotherhood of Men.
A weekend of games, competitions, cookouts, and other activities provided platforms for students to meet their new classmates. Church services were available Sunday morning. After midday all freshmen were ushered into Gilmer Hall to take the rhetoric editing and essay tests, upon which students’ placements in rhetoric classes are based. Soon after, the other returning students began moving into dorms and preparing for the third annual C Day celebrations.
Convocation, class identity, and community were the themes outlining C Day activities. It started at the annual Opening Convocation at Everett Stadium, with faculty, staff, and students attending. Many students and faculty were recognized for their academic achievements and contributions to education. Students, staff, and faculty spoke to the crowd.
Aaron Gilani ’15, student body president, reflected on how “we have seen the greatest change not in our surroundings, but within ourselves.” Those changes stemmed from the Honor Code, he stressed, and the integrity it instills in the student body.
Rev. Henry “Chip” Edens III ’92 emphasized the importance of being members of a community on campus and how that supportive atmosphere is often needed during trying times. He praised H-SC and its faculty for remaining focused on its job of forming good men and citizens within the community.
The four classes were then led to separate buildings for class identity discussions and ceremonies. The freshmen were introduced to The Good Men Plan, which helps them focus on citizenship, service, professional development, and other topics. They heard from Tim Fitzpatrick ’81 on “You Will Find a Way or You Will Make One.” Sophomores heard from Andy Freitas ’92 during their pinning ceremony, in which each received his interlocking H and S lapel pin, and juniors listened to Tulane Patterson ’78 during their ring and coin ceremony. Seniors listened to the discussion on “Marketing Myself When the Product is Me,” led by Thad Shelly ’75 in Crawley Forum.
The annual Pig on the Point dinner followed on Chalgrove Point. Music, barbeque, and representatives from a number of clubs, organizations, and fraternities displayed information for interested students.
Other events during orientation and C Day included the Tiger Fair, in which students could learn about other activities and organizations on campus; the Majors Exploration Fair, in which faculty representing various departments discussed their disciplines for students; and the Career Fair, with businesses and corporations setting up tables and displays for students thinking about their future employment.
Overall, the orientation and C Day introduced new and returning students to life at Hampden-Sydney for the 2014-15 school year. The week was filled with inspirational words, on-campus activities, and community fellowship that set the tone for another successful year on The Hill.
Hampden-Sydney College and the Wake Forest University School of Business have entered into a partnership whereby Hampden-Sydney students and alumni receive preferred application status to the Master of Arts in Management Program. This agreement is the fourth of its kind for Hampden-Sydney. The other three arrangements are with The Darden School of business at UVA, The Fuqua School of business at Duke, and the Mason School of business at William & Mary. The Wake Forest agreements provide Hampden-Sydney men with preferred admission, consisting of abridged admissions criteria, a streamlined application process, and guaranteed scholarship minima. This summer Hampden-Sydney and Wake Forest representatives gathered to recognize the agreement concluded earlier in the year.
Governor Terry McAuliffe recently reappointed Jeffrey Brown, director of public safety and chief of police at Hampden-Sydney, to the Criminal Justice Services board for a second term, which expires in 2018. Former Governor Bob McDonnell first appointed brown in 2010. Of the 29 members of the board, he is the only member representing campus police, and so he has an unusual amount of access and insight into a “broader view of criminal justice issues in the Commonwealth, [exposing him] to a wide range of progressive solutions for those issues,” as he said. Much of the knowledge brown gains can be useful for on-campus service and security at H-SC.
Brown serves on the board’s Executive Committee, the Asset Forfeiture Committee, and the Nomination Committee. He also serves as the chairman of the Committee on Training (COT), which is responsible for the development of criminal justice training standards in the Commonwealth in police and corrections academy training.
Brown’s position allows him “to network with many criminal justice professionals who have significant service-oriented values and who are supportive of Hampden-Sydney College,” he said. “Support, such as in training opportunities, research assistance, and federal and state regulation compliance” derived from brown’s participation have already benefitted the College.
It is my pleasure to introduce Angus K. McClellan ’05 as the new college editor with responsibility for The Record. You may have noticed Angus’s name in the July issue of The Record, which he completed as former editor John Dudley ’95 transitioned to his new responsibilities as director of college social media. We are all grateful for John’s 10 years of service on The Record.
Angus is a 2006 graduate of Hampden-Sydney, where he majored in political science. As a corporal in Farmville’s B Btry., 2-111th Field Artillery unit of the Virginia Army National Guard, he deployed to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom III in 2005. He worked previously as the assistant editor at the National Rifle Association’s magazine American Rifleman, where he wrote feature articles, product reviews, and book reviews. He received the magazine’s Outstanding Editorial Writing Award in 2009.
We welcome Angus to his new position.
Thomas H. Shomo
Director of Marketing & Communications