January 29, 2024

The student body gathered in Kirby Field House on Tuesday, January 16, to celebrate the Hampden-Sydney brotherhood, with alumnus Kirk Rohle ’12 serving as the keynote speaker.

H-SC students having fun at the dinner tableThe Second Annual One Brotherhood Dinner witnessed a celebration of brotherly spirit, delectable food, and the fostering of connections among the student body. Kicking off the evening, Student Court Chairman Greyson Hurley ’24 issued a call to action. He urged his fellow brothers to be there for one another and support each other through thick and thin, noting that brotherhood is what pushes students to excel during their time on the Hill.

Greyson acknowledged the frequent use of the term brotherhood as students hear it constantly throughout their college experience, and he urged the student body to focus their thoughts on it: “Brotherhood is what makes Hampden-Sydney,” Greyson said. “It is what pushes us to grow in the classroom, on the field, and in our personal lives. We are here to celebrate each other's big days and help each other during tough moments.”

Hampden-Sydney alumnus Kirk Rohle ’12, a recipient of the NCAA Award for Valor—an accolade recognizing bravery and courageous actions by a college athlete—built upon Greyson’s remarks and emphasized the significance of the Hampden-Sydney brotherhood.

“From my knowledge, there is no other institution that has the entire student population under one roof for dinner,” Rohle said. “It exemplifies that we are one body, we are a community, and we are all in this together, no matter your background or your current ambitions.”

Rohle proclaimed that the Hampden-Sydney brotherhood lies on a foundation of serving others and placing others before oneself. He discovered this during his time on the Hill, saying, “From the brothers I shared the locker room with and the faculty that make this place special to the alumni who generously support this treasured institution, I've discovered what sets this institution apart from others. It is as simple as putting others before yourself.”

Rohle said he arrived on the Hill in 2008 with confidence in his football abilities. As some challenges on the field became apparent, freshmen, including Rohle, were invited to meet with the senior captains at their house. Despite initial nerves, he was surprised by the captain's genuine focus on the freshmen, emphasizing their importance for the team's success. “They were paying attention to us,” Rohle said. “They were observing us on and off the field. They further explained that our class is the future of this program, and we are needed for this team's success this year.” Such instances continued to reinforce this sense of brotherhood and camaraderie throughout Rohle’s time on the Hill.

From my knowledge, there is no other institution that has the entire student population under one roof for dinner. It exemplifies that we are one body, we are a community, and we are all in this together, no matter your background or your current ambitions.

Kirk Rohle ’12

Students at the One Brotherhood dinner listening to their speakerIn his senior year, Rohle's experience took a dramatic turn when a fire engulfed the house he shared with his roommates. Concerned that his friend, Benjamin Rogers ’12, who was asleep on the second floor had not escaped, Rohle bravely reentered the inferno, suffering second- and third-degree burns. Fortunately, his friends, including Rogers who had already escaped the flames, pulled him to safety.

Facing a long road of recovery ahead, Rohle felt overwhelming support from the Hampden-Sydney community. Rogers dropped the summer courses he had enrolled in and visited Rohle multiple times during the summer, encouraging and motivating him to focus on his recovery. Additionally, Hampden-Sydney Football Special Teams Coordinator, Linebackers Coach, and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Glen Young dedicated time every Sunday with his family to visit Rohle. President Christopher Howard and his wife, Barbara, were also frequent visitors to Rohle during his hospital stay, joined by friends and classmates with whom he had developed meaningful connections.

“It was remarkable,” Rohle said. “The alumni support was powerful. Financial aid, damage relief support, letters, books, whatever I needed to get back on my feet was on the table.”

“I could go on and on,” Rohle continued. “The Hampden-Sydney community showed up. Almost 12 years later, I still can’t thank everyone enough for that support. I would not be where I am today if it were not for that.”

Highlighting his garnet Band of Brothers wristband, crafted by Rogers and worn since 2012, Rohle emphasized that its significance extends beyond being a reminder of the accident. He conveyed the message that it symbolizes the idea that "we are our brother’s keeper." Rohle urged the student body to recognize the broader purpose of serving others and embracing the Hampden-Sydney brotherhood, suggesting that when individuals discover something greater than themselves, they are heading in the right direction.

H-SC students shaking hands and having fun at the dinner tableAs the students pondered Rohle's words, Student Body President Tommy Bishop ’24 offered words of encouragement: “Brotherhood can look different to all of us, and that is okay. There is no uniform definition for how brotherhood makes each person feel. But the undeniable factor is that it exists here, and we are all a part of something much larger than ourselves.”

Tommy reiterated the uniqueness of gathering the entire student body for dinner and encouraged students to take advantage of their time on the Hill. Addressing underclassmen, he conveyed an important message: “This is a place where the days are long and the years are short, so take every advantage of what this place offers you both inside the classroom and out.”

While acknowledging that students will eventually move on from the Hill, Tommy emphasized that their time would forever be etched in the collective memory of the ever-growing brotherhood, shaping them into true Hampden-Sydney men. Tommy urged the students to venture forth into the world as representatives of Hampden-Sydney, highlighting that the essence of brotherhood is what truly distinguishes this institution and makes it extraordinary.

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