Growing up in Salem, Austin knew from an early age he wanted to practice medicine. “Neither of my parents went to college; they were products of the Great Depression,” he explains. “My mother worked at General Electric for 30 years and my father was a contractor.” When it came time to apply to colleges, though, Hampden-Sydney was his top choice.
“I was pre-med from the get-go, and even though I had to work hard, it was a great four years,” Austin recalls. “Hampden-Sydney fit my needs perfectly. I enjoyed my small classes and my professors—especially Dr. Edward Crawford in biology. We also had a great social life. I was a Sigma Chi and had friends in other fraternities, as well.”
Like many, Austin credits Hampden-Sydney with his success later in life: “I did well in medical school, which I attribute to Hampden-Sydney. I was well prepared: I knew how to work hard, study, communicate—all the things you learn at Hampden-Sydney.”
After graduating from the Medical College of Virginia, Austin completed his internship and residency at the University of Alabama, then went to UVA for a cardiology fellowship. He and his wife, Becky, now live in Roanoke, where he practices at the Carilion Clinic Cardiology. They have two children and seven grandchildren.