Wilson Center News & Events

Wilson Center and Rucker Snead at Hampden-Sydney college


US Senate Sergeant at Arms Interns Summer 2014H-SC student Max Maurer ‘16 spent his summer as a member of the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms IT Security Team. Max is a Business & Economics major with minors in Military Leadership & National Security Studies and Public Service.



Lt. General Samuel V. WilsonMerrill's Marauders Recognized by Governor

Governor Terence R. McAuliffe recognizes August 10, 2014, as National World War II Merrill's Marauders' Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Past President of Hampden-Sydney College, Lt. General Samuel V. Wilson, was presented with a certificate, signed by the governor, to honor his service and bravery as a one of Merrill's Marauders. The governor's proclamation is in support of a national effort for all states to honor the Marauders on that day.

This day of observance calls attention to the service of the Marauders who were the first American troops to fight the Japanese in Asia. In August of 1943, nearly 3,000 men volunteered to participate in this crucial mission. After walking over 1,000 miles of harsh and dangerous terrain, the unit broke the Japanese lines in Burma and changed the direction of the war. Their journey is known as the farthest trip on foot of all fighting forces during WWII. For their accomplishments in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, the group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, and each member has the distinction of receiving a Bronze Star Medal. Today, there are approximately 60 living survivors.

In 1940, General Wilson was ready to enter Hampden-Sydney, but enlisted in the army as a private instead. His combat duty with Merrill's Marauders was followed by a brilliant career in military intelligence, during which he attended graduate school at Columbia. He rose to Lieutenant General, finishing his service as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Deputy Director of the CIA.

He served as president of Hampden-Sydney from 1992 to 2000. During his term, the College's endowment reached $120 million, and in 1996 the College established the Wilson Center, named in his honor. The center oversees leadership, public service, and civic education for Hampden-Sydney students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The students of Hampden-Sydney came to know him as "General Sam", the president who taught a Sunday school class and missed few home athletic events. He was elected President Emeritus in 2000, and at his last Commencement he received the B.A. that he had forgone the opportunity to earn. 


Current Events Series: Ebola Outbreak
Story by Briggs Burton '16, Wilson Center Student Fellow

Lecture on Ebola by Dr. Hargadon

On September 3, the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest hosted a panel of faculty members with expertise in regional politics, immunology, and administrative policy to discuss the ongoing Ebola outbreak sweeping across West Africa. Dr. John Eastby discussed the political situation of the countries currently coping with the disease, Dr. Kristian Hargadon ‘01 offered an in-depth biological examination of the Ebola virus itself, and Dr. Dale Jones explained some of the public policy decisions which the United States government can make to ameliorate this virological disaster.  

9/11: Thirteen Years After
An Intelligence Perspective: What are our threats?

On September 11, over 150 students, faculty, and friends of the college, gathered together to commemorate the tragic events that shook our nation 13 years ago. The audience was joined by an expert panel of alumni with over 80 years of experience in the Intelligence Community (IC). Full Story...

Constitution Day 2014
Story by Evan Boden '15, Wilson Center Student Fellow

Constitution Day Lecture by Dr. Stevens

On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, students, faculty and friends of the college gathered in the Parents & Friends Lounge to celebrate Constitution Day, a federally mandated look at the Constitution that has been occurring at every federally funded educational institution since 2005. This year, the audience was fortunate to hear from Dr. Dennis Stevens, Hampden-Sydney’s Provost and Dean of Faculty, as he spoke on the subject of Religion, Politics and the First Amendment, a topic which he has co-authored a book on. Full Story....


Current State of Affairs in Europe
Story by Evan Boden '15, Wilson Center Student Fellow

Prior to celebrating Family Weekend, several members of the Hampden-Sydney community gathered in the Wilson Center on Friday, September 19 to listen to Marshall Manson '96 voice his opinions about the political climate in Europe. Marshall currently serves as the Managing Director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for Social@Ogilvy, the digital consulting arm of Ogilvy & Mather. Full Story...


Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow
Story by Evan Boden '15, Wilson Center Student Fellow

Woodrow Wilson Nat'l Fellowship Foundation logo

On October 6th, members of the Hampden-Sydney community gathered to listen to Mr. Mike Markovits speak on the subject of leadership.  Mr. Markovits is the former Vice President of Business and Technical Leadership at IBM.  Prior to his time at IBM, Mr. Markovits was at GE, operating their leadership and executive education activities.

Mr. Markovits posited that there are five essential capabilities for being a strong leader.  The first is being a learner.  Being able to take something away from a challenge and apply it moving forward is vital.  Secondly, leaders must be courageous.  To illustrate this point Mr. Markovits tied in a Georgia O’Keefe quotation: “I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing.”  The third skill is being able to exert influence.  Fourth, staying calm during a crisis is key.  To this point, he told the story of Jeff Immelt, who became CEO of GE the week of 9/11 yet never panicked.  Lastly, knowing yourself is important.  Mr. Markovits claimed that great leaders identify their weaknesses and allow others to lead them in these areas.

Mr. Markovits concluded by stating that everyone can be a leader—in fact, the world would be better this way.

Mr. Markovits is a leadership consultant and partner at AchieveMission, working to help non-profit organizations significantly improve their leadership and talent management. Full news story...

Alumni Public Affairs Forum
Story by Evan Boden '15, Wilson Center Student Fellow

Alumni Public Affairs Forum logo

On Friday, October 17th, members of the Hampden-Sydney community welcomed the Honorable Paul L. Reiber III ’70 back to campus.  Justice Reiber currently serves as the Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, a position he has held since 2004.

Justice Reiber began by stating that the purpose of courts is to level the playing field, and he emphasized this point by touching on the 18th century case of Peter Zenger.  He continued by saying that supreme courts are the regulators of the business of law.  Additionally, Justice Reiber addressed the growing concern among the law community about a shrinking interest in the field of law.  He had an optimistic take: the future of law can be bright if holders of law degrees find niches for themselves—he cited his daughter’s successful career in ERISA litigation.  As is the custom, the event ended with time for a brief Q and A that brought up topics from a diversity of backgrounds, ranging from American drug laws to judicial partiality.  In closing, Justice Reiber mentioned the importance of public service, saying that he hoped we would all come across an opportunity to give back.


Homecoming Events - Madison Dedication

Madison Dedication with David MarionOn October 18, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and current students gathered in the living room of the Wilson Center to pay tribute to a great man. Dr. David Marion was honored with the naming of the James Madison Room. The dedication was made possible by the generosity of Ed McMullen '86.  Dr. Marion is a beloved professor of political science and Constitutional Law. He is the only active member of the faculty to be awarded the three general teaching awards - the Cabell Award, the Sears Teaching Excellence Award and three Fuqua Teaching Awards.  Just after arriving on campus in 1977, he created the pre-Law Society, co-founded a chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha and subsequently established the James Madison Public Service Certificate Program. He served as the Founding Director of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest. Dr. Marion is the author of over fifty publications, including an award winning book on the late Justice William Brennan. He is a member of the academic advisory board of the Bill of Rights Institute, he has been a national scholar with the Center for Civic Education, and he is a regular guest speaker at the Constitution Center at Montpelier, James Madison's plantation home in Orange County. He has been invited to speak at the United States Supreme Court, the National Archives, on Capitol Hill, at Mount Vernon and at the University of Virginia Law School, among other places, and he has been featured in programs that have been aired by PBS and National Public Radio.  

It is only fitting and proper that we name the Director's office here as "The James Madison Room in honor of Dr. David Madison" for several reasons. First, the Constitution is key to who we are as a Center, College, and Nation.  Second, James Madison, one of our most revered founders, served as the Father of our Constitution. His portrait has a place of honor above our mantel. Dr. Marion, renown constitutional scholar and Madison devotee, was the Founding Director of the Wilson Center.

World War I: Its Origins and Significance

World War 1 lecture poster

The Wilson Center continues the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the start of the war to end all wars with Dr. Ralph Hattox as guest lecturer on the origins and significance of World War I. The lecture, free and open to the public, will be in Crawley Forum at 7:30 on October 23rd.



Trustee Events

Ray Bottom '51 Wilson Center front porch dedicationOn November 8, the front porch of the Wilson Center for Leadership was dedicated in honor of a great friend of the college, Raymond B. Bottom '51.  First elected to the Board of Trustees in 1973, Ray served 33 years and was named Emeritus status in 2006.  He is the recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the Keating Medallion and the Alumni citation.  He is an Honorary Member of Pi Delta Epsilon, a lifetime member of the Museum and continues to assist the Kappa Alpha Order.  Ray is an outstanding recruiter of students.  He continually brings talented young men to campus, hosts new-student and parent events and has the "send-off" event every summer.  Through the years, Ray has supported multiple programs, building projects, and deserving student through scholarship funds.  One of his passions is the Wilson Center for leadership.  We are honored to have our front porch dedicated to such a dedicated Hampden-Sydney man.


Founder's Day 2014

Founders Day cake at Hampden-Sydney CollegeOn November 10, Hampden-Sydney College will celebrate its 239 birthday. Join us for a celebratory lecture by visiting professor, Dr. Eugene Hickok '72. Also a visiting professor at University of Richmond, Dr. Hickok previously served as Deputy Secretary of Education for the United States Department of Education. He was a Bradley Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Hickok also served as the Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The lecture will be in the Chairman's Room of Settle Hall on November 10 at 7 pm. All are welcome.


Annual Trip to Washington, D.C.

US Capitol building

Washington DC Wilson Center Trip

On Thursday, November 13, the Wilson Center traveled to Washington D.C. for its annual trip to Capitol Hill. Students from the Public Service Program, Pre-Law Society, Chemistry Department and National Security Studies Programs spent the day in sessions with alumni from various government agencies, legislative offices, non-government companies and lobby groups. Topics included the 2014 congressional elections, the middle east, the defense department and military services and an assessment on the current energy policy. The students met with many of the alumni who are working in the trenches as legislative assistants, staff members and legislative correspondents for the members of Congress, and the Pre-Law Society spent part of the day in the Supreme Court. Read Evan Boden's full report...


Special Forces Distinguished Member of the Regiment Induction Ceremony for Lieutenant General Samuel V. Wilson

General Sam Wilson, Special Forces Distinguished Member of the Regiment Induction CeremonyOn November 14, LTG Samuel Wilson was inducted into the Special Forces Regiment and presented with the St. Philip Neri Award. We were truly honored to be able to host the award ceremony at the Wilson Center for Leadership. Read more about the history of these awards...



The Forfeited Asset Program 

Chief Jeff BrownOn December 2, Jeff Brown gave a talk to students in the Wilson Center on asset forfeiture.  Brown is the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police for the college.  He has extensive background in law enforcement.  A graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, Chief Brown is a published author and has taught crime prevention methodology, ethics, organizational change and patrol techniques to law enforcement officers and community members at several police academies, colleges, and training seminars.  In 2010, he was appointed by Governor McDonnell to serve as a member of the Commonwealth's Criminal Justice Services Board and has served as President of the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. Full Story...