When David Ewing ’91 was a junior in high school and set out to tour Virginia colleges with his father, Hampden-Sydney wasn’t even on his short list. In fact, it was David’s father who insisted they visit.
“My father’s Ph.D. advisor was Robert C. Pierle ’59, a Hampden-Sydney alumnus who often spoke of Hampden-Sydney and his experience there. When we were on our road trip, my father looked at the atlas and realized we were within an hour’s drive,” says Ewing. “Dad was fascinated with Hampden-Sydney and wanted to see it for himself.”
“I will always remember driving through the front gates and seeing the bucolic campus for the first time,” Ewing recalls. “That’s the moment I fell in love with Hampden-Sydney.”
All four of his years on the Hill were filled with wonderful memories—in and out of the classroom—and the love affair continues for Ewing today.
“I remember the legendary Dr. Graves Thompson’ s etymology class, playing soccer my freshman year, meeting my good friends John Savage ’91 and Andy Ballou ’91, the Guadalcanal Diary concert in Gammon Gymnasium, pledging Sigma Chi, and so much more—it was a great four years. I took classes that fascinated me, challenged my thinking, and improved my writing and communication skills. Hampden-Sydney is a part of my DNA.”
Another important part of Ewing’s DNA is education. “My grandparents and parents were all educators. My grandfather was a college president, my father was an English professor and my mother was an elementary school music teacher,” he explains. “Even my sister was a teacher for a short while.”
After graduating from Hampden-Sydney with a double major in humanities and Spanish, Ewing went into the “family business,” teaching English and coaching soccer at The Brandon Hall School near Atlanta. But after two years, Ewing decided it was time to try something different and went to work at Edward Jones, where he has remained for 26 years.
“Being in the financial services industry and helping my clients plan for and realize their goals and objectives has taught me a lot about my own giving,” Ewing says. “My wife, Heather, and I are very deliberate about how we spend our time and whom we support.”
“About 10 years ago, we decided to narrow our giving to four areas: education, the environment, at-risk youth, and our church. Ninety percent of our time and financial support falls into one of these categories.”
Heather shares his passion for education—she is an alumna of Sweet Briar College and works in their Alumnae Relations & Development office. It was Sweet Briar’s near closure a few years ago that galvanized the Ewings to make gifts that would have both an immediate and lasting impact and inspired them to increase their commitment.
The Ewings are forming a family foundation to facilitate their giving and to involve their college-aged children in the process in the future. They have also established scholarships at Hampden-Sydney and Sweet Briar that will be added to with gifts from their estates.
“I've named the College as one of the beneficiaries of my retirement plan. It’s such an easy way to give. There’s no trip to your attorney and, most likely, it can be done online," Ewing says.
“Hampden-Sydney’s endowment needs to grow to be in line with other top-tier liberal arts colleges. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we can get there,” he continues. “Everyone always thinks someone else will take care of it or that now is an inconvenient time to do it. The reality is that it will never be more convenient later. Just do it today.”
When asked his favorite motto, Ewing, ever the humanities major, takes a quote from Book XIII of Ovid’s Metamorphoses: “ Spectemur Agendo—Let us be judged by our acts.”
“I am so grateful for all Hampden-Sydney gave me. I wouldn’t trade one moment or memory for anything.”
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