Following last year’s 40th anniversary of Hampden-Sydney's celebrated Rhetoric Program, the new, state-of-the-art Pannill Center for Rhetoric and Communication has opened in the former Tiger Inn space, placing the College's signature academic program in the center of campus.
Facing Chalgrove Lake, the 11,500-square-foot facility includes the Rhetoric Studio, presentation practice rooms, and the College’s most technologically advanced classrooms, as well as designated spaces for the Center for Public History, Student Publications, and Undergraduate Research—allowing students to put their rhetoric skills into practice. At the center is Birdsong Atrium, an open, collaborative, and modern shared space.
The new Rhetoric Studio brings together the Writing and Speaking Centers and adds a third component: digital rhetoric, a form of communication that is composed, created, and distributed through multimedia platforms. “We are excited to be enhancing our consulting services and offerings to meet the dynamic needs of today’s students and their audiences,” notes Interim Director of the Rhetoric Studio Claire Deal. “The Rhetoric Studio provides an interactive, collaborative, and high-energy environment in which to do so.”
Also housed in the Pannill Center is the College’s Center for Public History, which helps students communicate the voice of the past and bring historical knowledge to the public. Initially, the Center for Public History will focus on projects in three areas: digital history, the Hampden-Sydney Oral History Project, and archaeology/historic preservation.
Moving the Office of Undergraduate Research to the new space will make student research increasingly visible to visitors, prospective students, and current students. Hands-on research—which is often inaccessible to students at larger universities—allows H-SC students significant opportunities to work alongside professors on projects of personal interest while developing skills in critical thinking, data analysis, and communication. According to Director of Undergraduate Research Mike Wolyniak, “The Office of Undergraduate Research intends to showcase the wide diversity of inquiry-based work conducted by Hampden-Sydney students. Work of this kind is needed by all students to be competitive in a rapidly evolving job market.”