March 08, 2022

Economics & Business major

from Goochland, Virginia

Volunteer firefighter Peter Orgain '22 chose Hampden-Sydney College because it felt like home—the rural feel of the campus, the unique and personal relationships between students and their professors, and the opportunity to serve in diverse leadership roles led him to fall in love with the school.

Peter Orgain '22 showing his class ring in a fistActivities and Clubs

Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department (Former EMS Lieutenant, Current EMS Captain), Theta Chi Fraternity (Former President and Vice President of Health and Safety), Resident Advisor, Tiger Lacrosse (Freshman Year), Ducks Unlimited, Fly Fishing Club

Why did you choose H-SC?

I chose Hampden-Sydney because it felt like home. The first time I ever set foot on campus was for a lacrosse camp held by the coaching staff at H-SC. The first day of camp, I was recruited by Head Lacrosse Coach Jason Rostan and given a tour of the campus on which I found out that there was a volunteer fire department on campus. During the fall semester of my senior year in high school, I went on my official visit and got to see the campus alive with students. The rural feeling of the campus, the interactions I had with staff and students, the opportunity to play lacrosse in college, and the volunteer fire department all drew me to Hampden-Sydney.

If you could give yourself advice as a freshman, what would it be?

Get involved in activities, clubs, and organizations, and get involved early. There is a plethora of options and opportunities available to students to join a group or create your own group. The only regret you will have is not getting involved sooner.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Assistant Professor of Economics and Business Geoffrey Lea; he’s one of those professors that is genuine and makes class fun to go to regardless of the subject matter.

Why did you join the HSVFD?
What has your experience been like? Best part?

I earned my EMT certification in high school and joining the fire department was an opportunity to use my certification. As I progressed through the department and pursued further training and certifications, the more I realized I want to do this as a career. HSVFD provides great opportunities for students to progress in leadership and real-world skills. We are one of seven fire departments that serve Prince Edward County. Even though we are not affiliated with the College, 90% of our membership is comprised of H-SC students or staff members. We receive a wide range of 911 calls. These range from minor routine calls, like fire alarms, to very severe calls, like house fires, entrapments, and cardiac arrests. We help real people in real emergencies both at the College and in the surrounding county. The best part about being a member of HSVFD is being a part of something bigger than yourself and helping the community with your best friends.

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

I told myself I would never go to an all-male school. The thought of it seemed weird. Once I arrived on campus and visited while school was in session, I fell in love with the school. The relationships between students and their professors are unique and personal. No one is just a number on a spreadsheet; everyone knows everyone.

How has the College prepared you for life?

Peter Orgain '22 about to throw a football

My time at H-SC has taught me to communicate with people effectively and think critically and to be more vocal in discussion and express my thoughts. I’ve become independent and learned to take responsibility for my own education and life decisions. The opportunity to serve in diverse leadership roles in HSVFD, Theta Chi fraternity, and the Office of Student Affairs has enhanced my leadership skills and taught me a wide range of skills that can be applied in different situations.

How do you feel about H-SC being all-male?

Remaining all-male is vital to the core values and uniqueness of the College. At first, I thought same-sex schools were weird, and I didn’t understand how they were able to keep their doors open. After being at Hampden-Sydney for almost four years, I can see how important it is for Hampden-Sydney to remain all- male. It provides a unique experience that I believe many will find refreshing if they give H-SC a chance. Everyone is more relaxed in every day interactions yet more motivated to take charge in their education and social lives.

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

The most challenging class I have had was Introduction to Philosophy with a focus on Libertarianism with Professor of Philosophy Patrick Wilson. Dr. Wilson expected a high level of professionalism in both our work and behavior that became engrained in me and has followed me into my other classes and activities. As a thinker, Dr. Wilson pushed my boundaries and comfort zones as a student and has prepared me to engage thoughtfully in classroom discussion.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? Why?

My favorite spot on campus is the deck of the Theta Chi house. Cookouts on the grill with your brothers on a nice sunny day with a fire going in the fire pit right outside are some of the best memories I will carry with me of my time here at H-SC.

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