Just a few short months ago, the first class of Wilson Leadership Fellows completed their time on the Hill. That graduation day brought many emotions: pride in their accomplishments, sadness because we will no longer be able to work with those Fellows on a daily basis, and excitement to see what these young men will do and accomplish moving forward. However, the overwhelming emotion I felt on that day and continue to feel is gratitude: Gratitude that the parents of these wonderful young men trusted us to be a part of their development and College experience. Gratitude for being part of a center and college dedicated to the holistic development of the future leaders of our communities and republic. Gratitude for colleagues who see this work as a calling not a job. And most importantly, gratitude for the amazing young men in this program who allowed us to be a part of this amazing journey. It has been a privilege to watch them grow, develop, and prepare for a lifetime of service.
When this co-curricular leadership program began four years ago, we asked the young men to think of using their time at Hampden-Sydney to prepare to be the men they wanted to be later in life. They did that in ways that exceeded all of our expectations. The foundational pillars of our program include leadership in diverse contexts, civil discourse, ethical decision-making, and active citizenship. Every session, talk, and activity endeavored to help Fellows grow in at least one of those four areas. Our hope was that through this work a set of traits and characteristics would develop into a common portrait of a graduate. In that portrait, graduates are asked to be self-aware, show compassion, learn from others who have different world views and lived experiences, listen with the intent to understand, show empathy, and be objective in all circumstances. Graduates are also asked to weigh facts, display humility, develop a moral framework that guides right from wrong, display habit-forming effort to align values and actions, appreciate the need for continual personal reflection, demonstrate courage, and appreciate the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in our republic while serving those in Southside Virginia and Prince Edward County.
The Fellows in this inaugural class demonstrated those values time and again. They invested time and energy to become the very best versions of themselves and deeply wanted to be part of a community of young men committed to the same. Watching these young men interact, grow, develop, and serve has been the highlight and single most rewarding privilege of my professional career. The young men in this class exceeded all expectations and will no doubt be “men of character who will lead lives of consequence.”
Here are just a few important accomplishments:
||A collective GPA that far exceeded the senior class average
||A four-year graduation rate that far exceeded College averages
||Fellows were elected by peers to serve as SGA executive officers in five of six roles while making up approximately 1/6th of the graduating class
||Served as athletic team captains; leaders in fraternities, faith based organizations, the Minority Student Union, and the pre-law society; editor of the Tiger; heads of the Union-Philanthropic Literary Society, the Mentoring Club, the Future Educators Club, the College Republicans, the Alexander Hamilton Society, the Outsiders Club; and more
||The Fellows were significantly over-represented in the awards received at commencement. Congratulations to Coleman Meadows, who received the Anna Carrington Harrison Award, which is given to a single senior who demonstrates the most constructive leadership in a given year. Congratulations to Michael Van Citters, who won the Samuel S. Jones Phi Beta Kappa Award, which recognizes intellectual excellence as manifested in student research. Congratulations to Joshua Hall, who was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion based on character and service to the College. Congratulations as well to Hunter Martin, who was awarded the Gammon Cup given to a senior student athlete, which recognizes academic and athletic excellence along with service to the College.
As impressive as these accomplishments are, these Fellows are even better young men. They are decent, honest, thoughtful, bright, hardworking, mature, and committed to serving others. We are proud of you, excited for you, and grateful we were able to work with you these last four years! Remember the words General Wilson offered at his last public appearance as College President at commencement in May of 2000. He said the following: “It is now your world; it is not mine anymore… it’s a beautiful, blue jewel… a shining sphere. Love it, cherish it, protect it, and keep it.” I am confident he would be proud of each of you. You are part of something bigger and more important than yourself.
Dr. Ryan Pemberton ‘00
Director, Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest
Congratulations Class of 2022 Fellows
The Wilson Center recognized the graduating senior fellows at a celebratory banquet. Read more…
Wilson Center Partnerships with Top Graduate Programs
The Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest has proudly entered into articulation agreements with the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, and the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. Read more…
From One Hill to Another! H-SC Men Experience Washington, D.C.
For three straight years, Dr. Pemberton and the legendary Dr. David Marion have taken a group of students to Washington as part of an experiential learning class. Read more…
Graduating Wilson Leadership Fellows Look Back
2022 Wilson Center Awards Banquet
On April 19 the first class of Wilson Leadership Fellows was honored at the annual spring banquet. Read more…
Wilson Archival Update
The Samuel V. Wilson Archive is now complete and open for visitors on the fourth floor of Bortz Library. Read more about the archive and the naming of a new building at Fort Bragg for General Sam!
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