President Larry Stimpert shared the following message with the Hampden-Sydney community on March 27:
To the Hampden-Sydney College Community:
I hope this message finds you and your family, friends, and other loved ones well and managing this crisis with all possible hope and faith. As you know, we have implemented unprecedented measures to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, including transitioning to remote instruction for the remainder of the academic year and postponing Commencement.
Our brotherhood is strong and now, more than ever, we realize how meaningful it is to be a part of the Hampden-Sydney family. This is not the first crisis Hampden-Sydney or its students have faced since 1775. With great resilience, the College and Hampden-Sydney men weathered the Revolution, which gave birth to our nation, a Civil War that threatened the very fabric of our republic, and other national and global crises, while never wavering from our mission of forming good men and good citizens.
As we all navigate through this time of uncertainty, I am grateful to all of you who have offered your support for our students and our decisions. I am also deeply grateful to our faculty members who are engaging with our students in new ways but with their same commitment to learning and to our College’s historic mission. And, I appreciate the efforts of all of our staff members, and especially those in our Admissions Office, our coaches and others who are recruiting next year’s class of freshmen, and the professionals in the Ferguson Career Center who are assisting our students as they seek internships and job opportunities and apply to graduate programs.
We are all disappointed for our graduating seniors, whose final semester on the Hill has been so abruptly altered. When we made the decision to postpone our Commencement exercises, I promised our seniors that we would give them the most meaningful ceremony possible. So, I am happy to share that we will hold our Commencement ceremony on the morning of Homecoming, Saturday, October 24. A Baccalaureate service for our graduates will be held the Friday evening before, as will a reception for the members of the Class of 2020, their families, and our faculty and staff. Our previously scheduled Baccalaureate speaker, Ken Woodley ’79, and Commencement speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will, were able to accommodate this schedule change. I know they will each have a very meaningful message to share with our graduates, their families, and our community.
It is good, at times like this, for us all to have something joyous to look forward to. We look forward to hosting especially memorable Homecoming and Commencement activities in October as we welcome many alumni home and honor our Class of 2020.
While the College’s leadership team and I have had to make many decisions during these last few weeks, we have been motivated by the goal of seeing the College emerge from this pandemic stronger and more united behind our mission than ever before. It is a tremendous privilege for me to lead such a talented group of young men and such a committed and dedicated group of faculty and staff members, and I am grateful for the loyalty and devotion of the very special Hampden-Sydney community.