"Here and in the larger society, no honest work is without dignity or unworthy of respect; no one is undeserving of your acknowledgment," said Thomas H. Shomo '69 to the Hampden-Sydney College community on Tuesday, August 28. This line—a reference to the "longstanding tradition on our campus that we speak to each other as we pass"—is one of many gems from Shomo's featured address at Opening Convocation for the 2018-19 academic year.
In remarks titled, "One Who Never Inflicts Pain," Mr. Shomo addressed the concept of a gentleman, a timely topic as the College welcomes one of the largest freshman classes its history and celebrates the 40th anniversary of Shomo's well-known book, To Manner Born, To Manners Bred: A Hip-pocket Guide to Etiquette for the Hampden-Sydney Man.
The Opening Convocation ceremony included the inauguration of student government officers and an address by the student body president, Michael Good '19, who challenged his fellow students to get to know their professors, pursue their passions, and get involved in the campus community. "We have so much potential, and we have every reason in the world to keep the momentum in full swing," he said.
Following the presentation of awards (detailed below), Dr. Larry Stimpert delivered the president's address, touching on the College's exalted past and promising future. "While we have been working together to enhance every aspect of Hampden-Sydney," he said, "we remain steadfastly committed to our distinctiveness and identity as a college for men."
A key element of Hampden-Sydney's distinctive identity is its historic mission "to form good men and good citizens," an ideal that Mr. Shomo explored in detail. Mr. Shomo's remarks blended history with a discussion of gentlemanly ideals and behavior, as well as the way these ideals and behaviors contribute to the fabric of Hampden-Sydney and form its place in society.