April 01, 2024

The Hampden-Sydney College Office of Culture and Inclusion welcomed over 100 students, alumni, and friends of the College to the Hill on March 22 and 23 for MSU Alumni Mentorship Weekend.

Men shaking hands at the MSU Alumni Mentorship eventMulticultural students and alumni hailing from diverse backgrounds gathered over the weekend in celebration of MSU Alumni Mentorship (MAM) Weekend. Filled with engaging activities, thought-provoking history, and opportunities for meaningful connections and mentorship, this event marked a memorable occasion. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the Office of Culture and Inclusion, the Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement, representatives from the Minority Student Union (MSU), esteemed faculty, and various departments, the 2024 edition of MAM Weekend stands as a testament to collaboration and inclusivity, destined to be etched into Hampden-Sydney history.

“Nostalgic, traditional, innovative, and rooted in connectivity is how I would describe this weekend,” said Dean of Culture and Inclusion Desiree Washington. “It was the perfect chance for students to network and gain interpersonal advice from alumni who truly care about their success, while our alumni offered their expertise and bonded with the younger generation, showing the brotherhood in real time.”

The festivities commenced on Friday with a cookout and live music at the MSU house. Saturday's events included insightful and fulfilling gatherings such as The Brothers panel, featuring Jeffrey “Free” Harris ’90 and Associate Director of Career Education Patrick Jourdain ’88. The afternoon was highlighted by a networking lunch, featuring remarks from Trustee Thomas Ransom ’00, and a panel discussion consisting of President Larry Stimpert, Jaivon Henley ’23, MSU Vice President Joseph Taylor ’25, Kalefah Sirleaf ’27, and Rhamel Brewer ’22, which was moderated by Ryan Parrish ’27.

Men discussing issues on a panel at the MSU Alumni Mentorship event

The day’s activities ended with a compelling keynote address delivered by retired Professor of Religion Bob Rogers. Dr. Rogers, who dedicated over two decades to teaching at the College, played a pivotal role in supporting students in various capacities. He served as the advisor for the Xi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and contributed significantly to the formation of The Brothers, now recognized as MSU.

Additional events from this weekend comprised of a student-faculty basketball game held at Kirby Field House, a reception at Middlecourt, various community gatherings, and to culminate the weekend, a Q&A session featuring the esteemed activist, scholar, and author Angela Davis on Monday, March 25.

“Overall, I really enjoyed the family atmosphere and seeing everyone connected as brothers,” Washington said. “I eagerly anticipate bigger and even better events in the future. I hope to see MAM Weekend expanded, providing more opportunities for everyone to return, connect, and flourish.”

Nostalgic, traditional, innovative, and rooted in connectivity is how I would describe this weekend.

Desiree Washington, Dean of Culture and Inclusion

Men having discussions in a barbershop-style environmentAlongside MAM Weekend, the Office of Culture and Inclusion has orchestrated other exciting and engaging events that aim to bring everyone together, including various Black History Month events such as the Barbershop Talk, where students were able to engage in meaningful conversations, embracing the opportunity to express themselves authentically in a safe and inviting setting.

“It was fulfilling to provide a safe environment for the guys to relax, share their vulnerabilities, and receive free haircuts,” said Director of Compliance and Coordinator of Athletic Diversity and Inclusion Saint Blizzard III. “Witnessing their openness and engagement was truly gratifying. I'm extremely grateful for the chance to bring such an inspiring event on the Hampden-Sydney campus, and I look forward to what’s in store for the future.”

Jaylan Long ’26 expanded on Blizzard’s sentiments, expressing his thoughts on the significance and principles of fostering inclusivity, saying, “What I found most gratifying was witnessing everyone enjoying themselves in a shared environment and ensuring that every voice was heard during discussions. I deeply value the mutual trust among all participants, enabling open dialogue on a wide range of topics, whether light-hearted or more sensitive.”

Much like the multitude of events hosted throughout the semester, each one plays a vital role in uniting the College community. Thanks to dedicated efforts of the Office of Culture and Inclusion, Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement, faculty, diverse departments, and cherished community members, students are enriched by an abundance of diverse and pioneering educational, cultural, and social encounters, laying a solid foundation for their journey on the Hill and beyond.

Large group photo of the MSU Alumni Mentorship event participants

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