October 05, 2022

Government major

from Midlothian, Virginia

Government major Michael Rowe '23 wanted a college with ample leadership opportunities in an environment focused on individual students, but he never could have imagined how closely he would interact with his professors and other faculty members at Hampden-Sydney.

Michael Rowe'23 sitting in front of a campus buildingWhat activities are you involved in?

Resident Advisor, Garnet & Grey Society, Peer Advisor for Dr. Euteneuer’s LLC, OSA Student Intern, Theatre Set Builder, Running Crew Stage Manager, Jongleurs (Theatre Club), High Adventure Facilitator, Summer/Fall Orientation Leader 

Why did you choose Hampden-Sydney? Why have you stayed?

When I ventured to Hampden-Sydney from the Air Force Academy, I was searching for a college that could provide ample leadership opportunities in an environment focused on individual students, rather than pandering to the largest demographic possible. Hampden-Sydney's small class sizes create such an environment, where students engage on an extremely personal level with all members of the faculty and staff on campus. These connections foster opportunities for students to be leaders in their communities and gain experiences that other colleges simply cannot provide. 

How have you changed/transformed during your time at H-SC?  

My time at H-SC has pushed me to be a more analytical thinker in both the classroom and in daily life. More importantly, Hampden-Sydney's Honor Code remains present in my mind constantly and forces me to carry out a lifestyle committed to the principles of dignity and integrity.  

Who is your favorite professor?  

It is a great task to pick a singular professor whom I could call my favorite, but there are many who have impacted my academic and personal life significantly. Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Jacob Euteneuer is both my professor and friend. I am his student in class, his peer in our Living and Learning Community, and his teammate during Student Faculty Staff Basketball. I work closely with Assistant Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs Christopher McMillion both in and out of class as I pursue my major with his advice while his passion helps to fuel my own. Thompson Professor of Philosophy Marc Hight encourages me to re-evaluate all preconceptions of political theory in class, and then he balls out on the basketball court a few hours later. Outside of the academic world there are countless staff members, particularly in the Office of Student Affairs, whom I have created personal relationships with and who act as mentors and resources whenever I need them. 

What do you do outside of class?  

Outside of class I work a few jobs on campus such as building sets for the plays, picking up shifts as an OSA student intern, and manning the High Adventure courses. I also work with Emily Gantt in Admissions to meet prospective students and watch out for my own community of residents as a resident advisor.  

How is H-SC different from your expectations before you arrived? 

I never could have imagined how closely I would interact with my professors and other faculty members when I arrived. I was certainly made aware by the Admissions staff of this, but I never could have imagined the extent to which it is true. It is not an exaggeration to say that I have made some true friends with multiple members of the faculty. 

What do you wish outsiders knew about H-SC?  

I wish that outsiders knew the extreme value of the education provided at H-SC. Through my experience I can confidently say that the College provides one of the most robust liberal arts degrees in the country. Hampden-Sydney is first and foremost dedicated to the education of its students and their development as men, and these priorities leave an unmistakably unique mark on the college experience. 

What has been your most challenging class so far? How did it shape you as a student or a thinker?  

Currently I am taking Philosophy of Political Economy with Dr. Hight, which is changing the way I think and process arguments entirely. While the class requires rigorous thinking and work, I am confident it will be one of my most rewarding educational challenges to overcome.  

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

Lake Chalgrove on a cool spring day is undoubtedly the most sublime place to spend an afternoon. Whether that means lounging in a hammock or casting my line for some bass, there is no better spot on campus. 

Who’s your role model?

I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea of role models, but I would love to share a dinner with Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia worked his way to the Supreme Court from poverty and remained humble until his final days. Even more remarkably, he was able to establish a personal relationship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had a vastly different ideology. His values of dedication to the law while maintaining open and intellectually honest debate are lessons which the country need now more than ever. 

What are your plans after graduation? What are your long-term aspirations?   

I originally thought I would pursue some sort of history degree when I arrived at H-SC, but upon taking Dr. McMillion’s common law class, I changed my mind and decided to pursue a government degree. Dr. McMillion helped me to realize my passion for law and the U.S. Constitution and how it is interpreted. I now plan to attend law school. With this goal in mind, Hampden-Sydney gives me countless resources and opportunities to gain knowledge and preparation as I embark on this process.

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