February 26, 2024

Amidst a balance of joy, laughter, and organized excitement, Hampden-Sydney College students, faculty, and staff welcomed 1,050 second grade students from 13 neighboring elementary schools to its annual Literacy Days event on February 21 and 22.

Children exiting a schoolbus and highfiving Dr. Seuss charactersThe occasion was a vibrant celebration of literacy, featuring engaging activities facilitated by volunteers from the College and the surrounding communities.

"Literacy Days are a labor of love,” said Director of College Events Cameron Cary. “Among the students, faculty, and staff, our volunteers include students from Longwood, local retired schoolteachers, and employees from nearby Walmart stores in Farmville, Blackstone, and Appomattox. It has become a wonderful reflection of local partners stepping up to promote literacy and share the love of reading with our future generations.”

Hampden-Sydney students handing a book to a childEstablished in 2000 by the late Dr. Walter M. Bortz III, the 23rd president of Hampden-Sydney College, and his wife, Lorraine, the College's literacy program symbolizes a dedication to reading and strengthens ties with the surrounding communities. President Larry Stimpert and his wife, Lesley, extended the program in 2017 to include entertaining days for second graders. Initially featuring just the works of Dr. Seuss, the program expanded in 2023 to highlight 13 additional books. With nearly 5,900 children reached since 2017, the contagious joy and unforgettable interactions reflect the program's impact.


Literacy Days has become a wonderful reflection of local partners stepping up to promote literacy and share the love of reading with our future generations.

Cameron Cary, Director of College Events

children filling a room looking at their new books“It's crucial to bring children onto campus, introduce them to the college environment, and ensure they have a delightful experience,” said Mrs. Stimpert. “Additionally, promoting literacy is important—we aim for these children to enjoy reading and cherish their books, creating a lifelong love for learning.”

Along with getting their books signed by Hampden-Sydney student-athletes, the children enjoyed playing interactive games and engaging in activities that relate to their book titles and familiar characters, emphasizing literacy as a central focus of the event and highlighting the joy related to reading.

With no end in sight, the College continues to create a lasting impact in the lives of thousands of children. Through its dedicated volunteers and unwavering commitment to literacy, the College's efforts resonate far beyond the campus, enriching the community and shaping the future of generations to come.

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