History is alive at H-SC. In continuous operation since November 10, 1775, Hampden-Sydney is the tenth oldest college in the United States. Here, the past meets the present as we prepare students for not just successful careers, but successful lives in the 21st century.

Since before the American Revolution, Hampden-Sydney College has been transforming young men into the best possible versions of themselves, with the moral strength and intellectual capacity to be leaders in the workplace and in their communities. Our mission remains unchanged: To form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.

Hampden-Sydney, one of the oldest colleges in the United States, is the last American college founded in British Colonial America, and has remained in continuous operation since November 10, 1775. Located on a 1,300-acre campus in Virginia's beautiful Southside, the campus' central portion has been designated a National Historic Preservation Zone. It includes Cushing Hall (1822-1833), originally called New College, and Venable Hall (1825-1830), originally Union Theological Seminary. Hampden-Sydney's charter trustees included Patrick Henry and James Madison; William Henry Harrison was a member of the class of 1791. The College is part of the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail and the Civil Rights in Education Trail.

Thanks to legendary codes of honor and conduct, a celebrated 40-year old rhetoric program, and a contemporary liberal arts education featuring supportive, yet exacting faculty, Hampden-Sydney men graduate with the courage to do what is right, the ability to express themselves confidently, and the skill to develop creative solutions for complex problems. In small classes, and within a lasting brotherhood, Hampden-Sydney men embrace challenges in and out of the classroom, learn to lead by assuming responsibility, and develop the self-awareness necessary for forging unique paths. Ninety-four percent of Hampden-Sydney graduates complete their degree in four years, and the College's alumni network has been ranked among the strongest in the country.

  • James Madison and Patrick Henry portraits

    Patrick Henry and James Madison were among Hampden-Sydney's first Trustees.

  • Cushing Hall, 1887, Hampden-Sydney College

    Pictured here in 1887, Cushing Hall is the oldest continuously used 4-story dormitory in the United States. ca 1822

  • Venable Hall, 1890, Hampden-Sydney College

    Pictured here in 1890, Venable Hall was originally the home of Union Theological Seminary. ca 1824

  • Hampden-Sydney College Football team, 1904

    The Hampden-Sydney Tiger football team in 1904

  • Hampden-Sydney College "birthplace" building being moved to campus

    Built by Nathaniel Venable in 1756 at his Slate Hill plantation, "the birthplace" is the office where the meeting to form Hampden-Sydney College was held. It was moved to the Hampden-Sydney College campus in 1944.

  • Hampden-Sydney College's iconic bell tower

    Dedicated in 1934, Hampden-Sydney College's iconic Watkins Bell Tower still rings students to class.

"A Portal through Time"

"One of only three four-year, all-men's liberal arts colleges in the nation, Hampden-Sydney College's secluded campus is located just a few miles from the more developed town of Farmville. It is also the oldest private charter college in the Southern U.S., the 10th oldest college in America, and the last college founded before the start of the American Revolution. The school enrolls about 1,100 students on average, and the campus has expanded since its establishment in 1775 from 100 acres to 1,300 acres of lush lands surrounded by scenic woodlands. With a noteworthy presence in the Civil War and part of the campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the school has a long, interesting history which is evident in the buildings. Two of the brick structures, Cushing Hall (built in 1822) and Venable Hall (1825), provide examples of Hampden-Sydney's historic significance in architecture, but the real beauty at the college lies in the manicured, old-world landscape and picturesque grounds. A walk through Hampden-Sydney College acts as a portal through time, to an age where genteel southern tradition and untouched countryside were the rule rather than the exception." — Virginia Travel Blog

Virginia Travel Blog


Summary History of Hampden-Sydney College

Are you a history buff and want to know more about the history and founding of Hampden-Sydney College? Download this document!

History of H-SC (pdf)

The Esther T. Atkinson Museum

The Museum supports the College's mission by collecting, preserving and interpreting objects that enhance its educational offerings and promote its history.