The Opening Convocation ceremony on the lawn of Venable Hall kicked off the 2017-2018 academic year on Monday, August 21. Following the inauguration of student government officers, College officials presented a number of awards to students in recognition of academic and extracurricular excellence:
- Hayden J. Dougherty '18 received the President's Award for Overall Academic Excellence.
- Nicholas F. Chase '18 received the President's Award for Academic Excellence in Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
- Aaron D. Persily '18 received the President's Award for Academic Excellence in Social Sciences.
- Steven A. Dvornick '18 received the President's Award for Academic Excellence in Humanities.
- Dalton P. Hall '18 received the President's Award for Scholarship and Character.
- Blake A. Martin '19 received the Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award, given to the junior with the highest cumulative grade point average.
- Coleman E. Johnson '19 received the Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award, given to the junior with the second highest cumulative grade point average.
- Dylan F. Cate '20 received the Omicron Delta Kappa Award, given to a member of the sophomore class who demonstrated real leadership potential during his freshman year.
Following the presentation of awards, College President Larry Stimpert offered a Convocation Address in which he emphasized the importance of high expectations about Hampden-Sydney's potential: "Our mission 'to form good men and good citizens' is more vital, more important, and more relevant than at any time in this College's or this country's history. We offer students an amazing educational experience. We are strong financially. We have just completed a terrific recruiting year. We surpassed our fundraising goals for the past year, and we have ambitious, achievable fundraising goals for the future. We must have high expectations for the College and for everything we do here. And, we must meet those high expectations because we are unwilling to accept anything less."
President Stimpert also discussed Hampden-Sydney's unique culture, and the importance of ensuring that the "daily lived experience" of Hampden-Sydney men truly reflects the College's mission and the codes of honor and conduct that guide student life. President Stimpert called on the entire community to help the freshmen become engaged and connected: "A student cannot thrive unless he feels he belongs and that he is engaged. So, let us all do what we can to help the newest members of our community feel that they belong here. And, let us all help them learn our tradition of looking everyone you meet in the eye and saying 'hello.'"
In addition to President Stimpert, Sam Murphy '18, president of the student government, and Steven Dvornick '18 also offered remarks to the assembled students, faculty, and staff.