In addition to remarks from College President Larry Stimpert, the assembled faculty, staff, graduates, family, and friends were addressed by philanthropist and co-founder of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, and the senior class valedictorian, Blake A. Martin '19, a biochemistry and molecular biology major.
Blake reflected on the lessons he and his Hampden-Sydney brothers had learned from their alma mater, in particular the importance of self-giving. “This College and the people that make her up, like a good mother, have given us so much over the past four years, and we ought to go out and share that lesson with those we meet,” he said. “Never forget your Alma Mater, and ‘reject not her teachings, for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.’”
Rubenstein began by noting Hampden-Sydney’s unique position as a pre-revolutionary college whose alumni bear the names of two distinguished individuals who made the American Revolution possible. He assured the assembled graduates that for the rest of their lives, people will ask them where they went to school. “And when you say, ‘Hampden-Sydney,’” Rubenstein advised them, “you should say it with great pride, because those individuals after whom the school is named sacrificed their lives for the very principles this country was founded on.”
A leader in the area of Patriotic Philanthropy known for his transformative gifts to the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the African-American History and Culture Museum, and the restoration and repair of the Washington Monument, Rubenstein also urged the members of the Class of 2019 to embrace the spirit of giving back. “Philanthropy is an ancient Greek word that means 'loving humanity'; it doesn’t mean 'rich people writing checks.' You can love humanity by giving your time, your energy, your ideas, whatever you can give,” he explained. “And so all of you graduating today and all of you listening today, think about what you can do to give back to our country. Don’t wait until you’re my age; do it when you’re younger. Make it part of your DNA.”