January 20, 2021

Biology major, Leadership in the Public Interest minor

from Pinehurst, North Carolina

CAC chairman and biology major Harrison Whaley '21 tells us about what drew him to H-SC, and what keeps him here—hint: it's the people.

Harrison Whaley '21 standing in front of Brown Student CenterActivities

Sigma Xi fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma professional fraternity, Honors Program, CAC (chairman), Hampden-Sydney Radio, Society of 1791, Dining Club, Ducks Unlimited, Pre-Health Society (outreach program volunteer)

Favorite spot on campus

I have spent a lot of hours studying in Gilmer Hall, which has certainly given me a bias. That being said, all of the professors in Gilmer have been welcoming from day one, and now I enjoy greeting them all and discussing my life with them. I feel like these interactions with my professors give Gilmer Hall a home-like feeling where I can always find people who care about one another.

Favorite H-SC event or tradition

I would have to say that my favorite H-SC tradition is the overall hype that surrounds our rivalry with Randolph-Macon. The annual demolition of the black and yellow car is just one small example of an event that would not take place without our long-standing rivalry, and I am thankful for the experiences that rivalry has given me.

Harrison Whaley '21 in a biology labcoatWhat drew you to Hampden-Sydney? What keeps you here?    

The honors and pre-health programs drew me to H-SC, but the people I have met and the relationships I have built are what keeps me here.

Why did you choose your major and minor, and what do you hope to do after graduation?

Biology has always come naturally to me and piqued my interest, and I enjoy being in the lab. I chose to minor in Leadership and Public Interest because the world is always in need of good, strong leaders, and I want to be able to apply myself if I ever have the chance to be in a leadership position after college. I am hoping to work in the medical field after graduation, which would certainly be a wonderful opportunity to apply all the knowledge I have learned in Gilmer.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

I don’t like to pick favorites, but I would have to say Dr. Wolyniak. I have taken his upper level biology classes, and I am currently completing an Honors Capstone Project with Dr. Wolyniak as my advisor. Working with him and taking his classes is unlike any other experience I have had so far at Hampden-Sydney. Dr. Wolyniak is incredibly fun to work alongside, but he also expects his students to put in their best effort at all times. His ability to always make the most of the work at hand is rather inspiring.

Why did you get involved with CAC at H-SC, and what have you enjoyed about it most so far?

I began helping with the CAC early on in my freshman year, and I have had the pleasure of being voted in each election since. I have been involved with planning numerous events, but the most exciting one is always Greek Week. It is just too fun, especially knowing how much our annual spring celebration means to our students.

Harrison Whaley '21 sitting on a kayak rackWhat do you hope to accomplish or contribute to the H-SC community as chairman of the CAC this year? 

As COVID-19 has impacted each and every student this year, I want each student to be able to attend at least one CAC event that stands out as their favorite campus memory.

What has been your most memorable experience or opportunity at H-SC?

It’s hard to sum up my most memorable experience at H-SC as I have had so many great opportunities in the last four years. I have been able to research many things from baleen to phages; I have enjoyed fun events like Greek Week and tailgating in the swamp for H-SC Football; I have participated in student government, Society of 1791, honors fraternities, community outreach, and even something I never envisioned four years ago: my own gaming talk show on Tiger Radio. That’s why Hampden-Sydney was such a great choice!

What advice would you give to new Tigers to make the most out of their four years on the Hill?

Being involved around campus is definitely the best way to feel as if one is “getting the most” out of their time here. Running for elected office is one of the best ways to be involved in the Hampden-Sydney student body.

What do you wish outsiders knew about Hampden-Sydney?

Our student body is just so welcoming, even though many of our students may appear rugged. For example, people always assume guys with big grizzly beards are tough-natured, when some of these types are the most compassionate guys on campus! We have students from diverse backgrounds with unique experiences, and as my experience shows, there are so many ways to get involved and make the most of your experience at Hampden-Sydney. To sum it up, do not judge a book by its garnet and grey cover.

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