July 25, 2018

Government major, Public Service and Military Leadership & National Security minors

from Warrenton, VA


Recent Hampden-Sydney graduate and Kappa Alpha brother Chris Ross '18 spent much of his four years at the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest when he wasn't busy with duties as chairman of the College Republicans or as a member of the Pre-Law Society.

An education at H-SC is much more than your major.

We asked Chris to reflect on his time at Hampden-Sydney. His thoughts are below, edited for length and clarity. 

Chris Ross stands with Morton Hall in the backgroundA Hampden-Sydney man

is educated, honorable, respectful, and provides for the betterment of himself and those around him. Hampden-Sydney is not the only place to learn these basic truths, but it is the best place to learn them.

The Hampden-Sydney community

While any college allows young people to live and grow independently, Hampden-Sydney has prepared me for life by teaching me the value of community and family. As a small college, everyone seems to know each other. I really appreciate that feeling of community on campus, which taught me to treat others—and myself—with respect.

The Wilson Center

I spent quite a bit of time at the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest, from meetings with my advisor, to classes, to College Republicans meetings. I believe that the Wilson Center, in instilling the values of duty and honor in the young men who pass through, is a truly fitting testament to its namesake, Lieutenant General Sam Wilson.

Advice for freshman

Work hard and make memories. The Hampden-Sydney experience can be divided into two parts: academic and social. First, you need to make sure that you work hard, get good grades, and make the right connections for your future. One thing I can vouch for, if you slack off it will come back to bite you. Second, you need to make friends and memories. Now that I've graduated, I look back on my four years on the Hill with great fondness; the friends that I've made, the experiences I've had, and the knowledge I've acquired will stay with me forever.

H-SC traditions

The Rhetoric Proficiency Exam, walking under the bell tower before graduation, and signing the Honor Code are all integral to the Hampden-Sydney experience, but my favorite tradition is attending football games.

If politicians could learn one thing from Hampden-Sydney men it would be

Respect. At H-SC we have our fair share of debates and disagreements, and while the impact is not as far-reaching as those in the various state or national legislatures, the fact that we begin each conversation with respect for one another is a universally applicable solution to hyper-partisan quibbling. If one goes into a discussion with a predisposition, they will be hard-pressed to achieve any sort of meaningful progress.

In 2017 Chris garnered national media attention for a New York Times op-ed on civility, titled Seersucker and Civility, that he co-authored with the chairman of the H-SC Young Democrats.

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