Half of Hampden-Sydney graduates attend graduate school within five years.
ML/NSS Lecture & Induction Dinner
Professor Farrell gave an excellent presentation: it was informative, interesting and entertaining. As a member of the renown 5th Special Forces Group who served two tours in the jungles of South Viet Nam, Dr. Farrell discussed leadership from his perspective as a NCO/troop leaders in the infantry. The following quotation from the beginning of his talk reveals the wit, charm and insight of his presentation:
"Young Gentlemens: It was, when I served at this grand old place, my pride to pen any public communication with that phrase alone. Not many venues where you can still say 'Young Gentlemens' and get away with it. Thanks for the chance to say it one more time. I'm asked to vaporize about leadership....whatever that is. You'll perhaps permit a French prof to tell you that English is about the only language I know that actually has a work for it...and America about the only place where they purport to teach it. It's some slippery stuff".
Professor Farrell noted that he "spent 26 years in Pharaoh's Army," and learned something about leadership in the military. He added that leaders are not managers or administrators who work within limits and restrictions. According to Farrell, leaders surmount restriction; they "contest nature, defy nature, ignore nature and the confinement of the here and now...knowing when and where and how---and with whom ---is the miracle of leadership, the challenge of leadership."
Leadership, he observed, begins with small scale personal integrity that makes you seem worthy to your contemporaries, i.e., the "small scale personal integrity that makes you a worthy bunkmate, roommate, classmate, teammate. As I look back on long service, my memory fastens upon small things, small events, small acts of courage, duty, resilience, commitment. In the end it is by small local fidelities that you're likely to get men or women to follow you up those big far-away hills."
In the military world, leadership can be found in making the mission work, and leadership can be displayed both from the front and from the back. "Valor (is) stepping out onto the landing zone first, cracking the hatch first, standing up first after the fight, but also moving out last, staying till the troops have cleared an obstacle or danger area, waiting those extra few seconds to be sure every man's back".
Finally, apropos Hampden-Sydney College, Professor Farrell mad a number of asides about the important relationship a good education in the liberal arts, "a good education in human value", is to successful leadership in both military and civilian (Pfui - an editorial comment by Farrell pertaining to civilians) life context. All in all, it was a provocative talk and a special evening.
Dr. James Y. Simms
Emeritus Elliott Professor of History
Director of the Military Leadership & National Security Studies Program