Wheat Professor

John HillenHampden-Sydney College and the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest are thrilled to announce the Honorable Dr. John Hillen as the new James C. Wheat Chair in Leadership.

Established in 1993, the Wheat Professorship enables students to learn about both the theory and the practice of leadership under the guidance of visiting leaders from various arenas. As the Wheat Professor, Hillen will teach Leadership and Ethics—a required course for students earning a minor in Leadership in the Public Interest—and will develop a special topics class on leadership in American institutions. 

“A primary goal of the Wilson Center of Leadership in the Public Interest is to connect theory and practice,” said Wilson Center Director Ryan Pemberton ’00. “Dr. Hillen’s experience in the classroom, boardroom, halls of power, and in combat will help our young men connect their time at Hampden-Sydney and in the Wilson Center to the world beyond our gates. I am confident that each of his classes will have a waiting list.”

Hillen is an award-winning CEO and leadership expert, former Assistant Secretary of State, public intellectual, decorated combat veteran, and popular business school professor. He is the author of several books, most recently What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You, which was recognized as one of the top business books of 2018. He is currently the CEO of Everwatch Solutions.

“I’ve been teaching and writing about leadership in various settings now for 20 years,” Hillen said. “It is very exciting to bring that teaching experience and the leadership lessons I’ve learned in military, diplomatic, governmental, non-profit, and commercial roles to our students at the Wilson Center. We aim for these young men to be the CEOs, mayors, pastors, coaches, teachers, generals, and other leaders of tomorrow. To help them on that journey is a privilege.”   

From 2013 to 2019, Hillen served as the Executive-in-Residence and Professor of Practice in the School of Business at George Mason University, where he taught strategy, leadership, and management courses, twice winning the outstanding professor award in the MBA program. 

“The interdisciplinary approach to teaching leadership at the Wilson Center is exactly what is needed today, in my opinion,” Hillen continued. “Too many institutions suffer from overly specialized expertise in their leaders, which does not necessarily translate into the strategic sagacity, broad-minded vision, and ethical foundation that should buttress all leaders. In the finest traditions of liberal arts education, we will teach those skills to our young men to prepare them to be in the front ranks of their communities and organizations.”

Hillen served for eight years as a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College and is the benefactor of the Hillen Seminar Room in the Wilson Center, named for his father. He received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion from Hampden-Sydney College in 2016 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the College in 2019.

“The ancient mission of Hampden-Sydney College, ‘to form good men and good citizens,’ inspired me from my first encounter with the College,” Hillen added. “We can sometimes over-inflate the challenges of our age, but it is no exaggeration to say that this mission is needed now more than ever. The decline in civic education, the overt specialization of so much curriculum, and the rancor in our politics are all connected. We need to produce well-rounded and thoughtful leaders to be the virtuous citizens that America’s founders told us would be needed to preserve a free and fair democracy. To be able to contribute to that education for young men aiming to be citizen leaders of their communities and their country is a high honor.”

Dr. Hillen will assume his new role on July 1, and a celebration in his honor will be held in Washington, DC, on Friday, October 9.


Extended Biography:

The Honorable Dr. John Hillen is an award-winning CEO and leadership expert, former Assistant Secretary of State, public intellectual, decorated combat veteran, and popular business school professor. He served for eight years as a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion from Hampden-Sydney College in 2016, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the college in 2019.

Dr. Hillen has been teaching and writing on leadership issues for 20 years. He is the author of several books, most recently What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You, which was recognized as one of the top business books of 2018 by several organizations. He also writes a column on leadership and business strategy for Forbes magazine and Washington Technology magazine and moderates leadership seminars for the Aspen Institute.

Hillen is currently the CEO of Everwatch Solutions, a mid-sized defense technology firm in northern Virginia. From 2013 to 2019, Hillen served as the Executive-in-Residence and Professor of Practice in the School of Business at George Mason University, where he taught strategy, leadership, and management courses. He twice won the outstanding professor award in the MBA program. 

Prior to teaching in the School of Business at George Mason, he was the President and CEO of Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc.—a company that Hillen took public in 2009 in one of the few successful IPOs in the American economy that year. The recipient of numerous leadership awards in the military, government, academia, and business, Hillen has been named one of the 100 most influential business leaders in the DC area. He continues to serve on the boards of several companies and a number of nonprofits and charities.

Unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2005, Hillen served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs in the second half of the Bush administration and in that capacity spent much of his time with U.S. and allied troops in war zones from Iraq to Afghanistan to the southern Philippines. He has written or edited several books on international security affairs and has published articles in dozens of journals and newspapers, including Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on every major television network and was an on-air commentator for ABC News for a number of years.

Hillen, who served for 12 years as an Army reconnaissance officer and paratrooper, was awarded the Bronze Star for his role in the Battle of the 73 Easting during Operation Desert Storm. He recently spent nine years on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel, the federal advisory committee supporting the head of the U.S. Navy, and received the Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award in 2017. He was the military advisor on the original Call of Duty video game series set in World War II.

Dr. Hillen graduated from Duke University with degrees in public policy studies and history and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship after graduation. He holds a master’s degree in war studies from King’s College London, a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, and an MBA from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.

Support the Wilson Center by June 30

The Wilson Center is worthy of your support! Please make a gift by June 30.

Now more than ever the world needs leaders who the display the traits and bedrock values evidenced in the life of Lt. General Samuel Wilson and embedded in the ethos of the College and the Wilson Center. 

Support our outstanding young men and this worthy endeavor of preparing “men of character for lives of consequence.” June 30 is almost there!  Please Give Today

Wilson Archival Project

Upon Gen. Wilson’s passing in the summer of 2017, the Wilson family donated all his writings, awards, books, and memorabilia to Hampden-Sydney College—a treasure trove that includes pictures, U.S. Army papers, diplomatic passports, personal notes, and artifacts. The depth and breadth of this collection is astounding, encompassing military history from WWII to the Global War on Terror, the building of our current national security infrastructure, higher education, Virginia politics, and local civic life.  

A small group of alumni and friends made generous gifts to support the hiring of a full-time term archivist—Dr. Colin Woodward, who began his work in July—to digitize and catalogue the collection. In so doing, they ensured that General Wilson’s memory will continue to teach and inspire generations of Hampden-Sydney men as well as others across the Commonwealth and nation. 

Here are some important updates from that work:

  • As of February 2020, the entire collection—270 boxes of material spanning 135 feet of shelf space—has been surveyed to remove duplicate or redundant documents and to check for mold and other conservation issues. All items have been placed in new, acid-free boxes and folders, and the collection has been organized chronologically, starting with early family papers going back to the 1700s.
  • The majority of items in the collection span the 20th century. In addition to manuscript papers, the thousands of photographs in the collection have been organized separately, with many of the most significant large photos (8 x 10) placed in Mylar sleeves. These photos will be the foundation for future public exhibitions.
  • Dozens of boxes of audio-visual material have also been organized as a separate “collection-within-the-collection.” These DVDs, cassettes, and reel-to-reels contain documentation of General Wilson’s speeches and public appearances as well as other items of historic interest, such as Richard Nixon discussing the Vietnam conflict in 1964. The expectation is that many of these resources will be digitized and uploaded to the internet so other researchers will have access.
  • Dr. Woodward will be giving a talk on General Wilson at the Virginia Forum, a history conference hosted by the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. Originally planned for the end of March, the event has been moved to September. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Dr. Woodward conducted an interview with Drew Prehmus ’08, who wrote the biography about General Sam and is a newly elected member of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest Board of Advisors. 
  • Dr. Woodward has also started a blog entitled, General Sam — Documenting the General Sam V. Wilson Papers Project.
  • As we hoped would happen, word about this project has gotten out and others are excited to explore the possibility of archiving material at Hampden-Sydney College. We are currently in talks with a Nixon-era political operative and a distinguished collector of Merrill’s Marauders materials about having Hampden-Sydney serve as a home for their papers. 

Josh Hall

Josh Hall

Why did you choose Hampden-Sydney?

Hampden-Sydney offered me an opportunity to further my education in an environment that acknowledged my merit as not only a student, but as an individual. When the school evaluated my student profile, they reviewed more than just my GPA. While my academic resume was solid on paper, HSC showed equal, if not more, interest in who I was as a person.

What activities have you been involved with in on campus?

My freshman year I was a walk-on member of the basketball team. Since then I have let basketball go to pursue a higher GPA, become a Resident Advisor, and serve as vice president of the Minority Student Union. I have also been chosen to be a student member of the Intercultural Affairs Committee and made significant motions to found a NAACP chapter on campus, in addition to joining the radio and music production club.

What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program?

I have found great value in the skills that the Wilson Center teaches about commitment and time management. As a freshman, the program can be challenging at times because it requires you to monitor your emails and schedule your work around irregular events. Since most events are encouraged but not mandatory, regular attendance shows how committed you are to the program and how willing you are to seek out opportunities and connections that you would never have known if you missed those events.

How has the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?

The Wilson Center has helped me realize that personal integrity is what makes a leader. Simply belonging to a group of leaders is not enough, and leadership is not about the resume builders or the accolades or the acknowledgements. Leadership is about following one’s own ethical compass, uplifting the community around oneself, and encouraging others to do the same. A leader does not wait for an order or a cultural shift to take action.

What are your plans after H-SC?

After Hampden-Sydney, I plan to pursue a law degree.

Josh Hall

Andrew Rehak

Andrew RehakWhy did you choose Hampden-Sydney?

The small size really made Hampden-Sydney feel like a home. I had considered a few other colleges, but I knew H-SC was the right choice as soon as I made my first visit to campus. After one year here, I can say that the ability to work closely with professors has proven to be an invaluable advantage.

What activities have you been involved with in on campus?

I am the vice president of the Mentor Program, the secretary of the Environmental Club, and a member of the Pre-Health Society. I am also on the swim team and have been chosen to be the Resident Advisor for the Modern American Leaders living and learning community.

What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program?

I have really enjoyed the people I have met; from other students to the guests speakers, they have all been positive influences in my life. Moreover, the Wilson Center has helped me develop my own ideas about leadership and has taught me how to be a more effective leader.

How has the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?

Through the various lectures, class presentations, group discussions, and self-reflections, I believe I have grasped a few key ideas that allow me to be a more effective leader. Each of the guests that spoke in the 2019-2020 academic year brought some new insight to the table, and the culmination of their ideas has caused me to grow both as a person and a leader.

What are your plans after H-SC?

Following my graduation, I plan to attend medical school where I hope to further my studies and specialize in anesthesiology.

Andrew Rehak

Wilson Center Award Banquet

Each year those associated with the Wilson Center gather to celebrate our graduates and to honor the recipients of the James Madison and Patrick Henry awards.  These banquets are always meaningful events as our students hear from role models who have lived lives of exemplary service.

The following students completed requirements for the Leadership in the Public Interest minor.  This minor was originally developed as a program in the early 1990s for students interested in careers focused on selfless service.  The minor provides students the opportunity to study leaders and leadership concepts that are applicable to citizenship, service, and ethical decision making in a variety of contexts.

Congratulations to:
John David Allen
Robert Christopher Bowen
Chase Kristian Counts
Conner Jones Francis
Ethan Michael Gaines
Nicklaus Scott Hinckle
Christopher Carson King
John Brandon Koch
Alexander Woodward Parham
Garrett Paul Ramsey
Landen Blake Wood
Levy Mitchell Young

The Harvey B. Morgan Public Service Award is presented annually to a graduating senior who has successfully completed the requirements of the Public Service Program at Hampden-Sydney College, who has demonstrated an interest in public service at the local or state level, and whose integrity and excellence of character reflect those qualities as evidenced in the life of Harvey B. Morgan ‘52.

Congratulations to the 2020 recipient, Conner James Francis ’20.

The following students were recognized for completing the requirements for the National Security Studies minor.  The minor was originally started as the Military Leadership and National Security Studies Program in 2005.  The minor provides students with insight into the historical, political, ethical, cultural, and legal dimensions of national security.

Congratulations to:
William Joseph Brady
Dylan Frederick Cate
Michael Colin Corini
Noah Richard Domikis
John Walker Dyke
Chandler Thomas Foster
Ethan Michael Gaines
Thomas David Gorman
Nathan James McVey
Cameron Scott Meyers
Peter Roper Pickard
Garrett Paul Ramsey
Ryan David Sanfilippo
Jackson Carter Stubbs
Trent Hollowell Taylor
Charles Joseph Toomey
Nickolas Villarroel
James Robert Winkler

Each year the James Y. Simms National Security Studies Award is presented to a graduating senior (or seniors) who has excelled in the field of national security studies, completed the requirements of the National Security Studies minor at Hampden-Sydney College; who has demonstrated leadership and service; and whose integrity and excellence of character reflect those qualities as evidenced in the life of James Y. Simms.

Congratulations to the two 2020 award recipients, Thomas David Gorman ’20 and Garrett Paul Ramsey ’20.

The James Madison award is presented annually to an alumnus or friend for distinguished service on behalf of the College and Wilson Center.  The two 2020 award winners are part of the very fabric of the College.  Both are model servant leaders and members of this special community.

Congratulations to retired Dean of Admissions Anita H. Garland and Wilson Center Fellow and Emeritus Professor of History James Y. Simms.

The Patrick Henry Award is presented annually to an alumnus who has distinguished himself in a career in public service.

Congratulations to Colonel William T. Anderson ’67, United States Marine Corps-retired.

Please check out pictures of the great event.

Hampden-Sydney Week in D.C. Trip

Dr. David Marion and Dr. Ryan Pemberton took students in their INDS 385: Leadership and Public Policy at the National Level class to Washington for spring break. Students networked with alumni and friends and enjoyed the unique culture of Washington during a whirlwind excursion to our nation’s capital.

It is hard to fathom that this trip ended up marking the last Wilson Center events of the 2020 academic year.  We did, however, go out with a bang and had a wonderful time.  We are deeply grateful to those alumni and friends who served on a panel or supported the trip.  You made this experience special—thank you.

Here is a rundown of the trip:

Saturday: Students arrived and enjoyed dinner downtown before enjoying a fantastic performance by the Capitol Steps.

Sunday: We toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as Little Lights Urban Ministries located in Potomac Gardens in Southeast Washington.  We were also treated to an amazing dinner at Matchbox, a Thompson Hospitality Company.  Thank you to Rodney Ruffin ’82!

Monday: The group was given a red carpet tour of the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Students were especially impressed by the museum and the Hall of Fame—note that our center’s namesake, Lt. General Samuel V. Wilson, was a member of the inaugural class.  We then met with folks at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.  ACTA is policy group committed to liberal education, freedom of speech, and the connection of liberal arts education to democratic ideals.  ACTA has named the Wilson Center an Oasis of Excellence. We then spent the afternoon hearing from a panel of alumni who serve as leaders in the financial sector at the beautiful offices of Fannie Mae.  Thank you to Jeffrey Ketron ’92, Toby Albright ’99, and Adam LaVier ’97.  Martha and Ivan Schlager (parents of Will ’21) hosted our group at their lovely home for a wonderful reception that night.

Tuesday: The class was hosted by David Brown ’87 at his offices at Exelon on Capitol Hill.  David Sanders ’01, Paul Pisano ’89, and Tuck Shumack ’95 gave us a fantastic overview of the current state of our politics.  David Brown ’87 and Tom Craig ’99 then discussed energy and environmental policy.  Kevin Turner ’03 and Marc Brown ’92 discussed serving in legal careers and the role of the general counsel.  Trey Lackey ‘85, our incoming Wilson Center Board of Advisors Chair, put together a fantastic and inspiring panel of intelligence officials.  We then went to the Capitol Hill Club where Dr. Paul Carter, parent of George ’20, offered insights into life at the State Department.  Dakota Wood, a retired Marine and noted national security analyst at the Heritage Foundation, gave outstanding remarks to our group about the current challenges facing our national security infrastructure.

It was an action-packed and meaningful week for our students.  Thanks to all who made this trip possible!  Here are just a few pictures.

Ian Lichacz ’22

  1. Ian Lichacz '22 headshotWhy did you choose HSC?
    I think the easiest way to explain it is the fact that I felt like there was something special about the College. Something that I could only understand if I decided to call Hampden-Sydney my home away from home for four years. After two years on the Hill now, I can safely say Hampden-Sydney is a special place for a multitude of reasons from the Brotherhood to the Honor Code we all sign. You also can never forget the tailgating that is almost a tradition in itself.
  2. With what activities have you been involved at HSC?
    I have had the honor to serve on the Student Senate for two terms. I was elected treasurer of my fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon. I have served as secretary for the College Republicans. I have helped re-found the History Club in junction with assisting our new public history program. I currently work as a rhetoric consultant in our new Rhetoric Center. One of my favorite activities on campus is volunteering with the Garnet & Grey Society. There is nothing like helping young men make the right decision by choosing to come to Hampden-Sydney College.
  3. What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program?
    The new four-year program so far has been quite the experience. With the first-year programming and Society of ’91, there has been a lot to take in. I guess I could say what I have enjoyed most is having my idea of what leadership is completely turned upside down. Between reading leadership theory and hearing from guest speakers, I have learned there is a lot more to leadership then I ever realized. The relationship between leaders and followers alone is something someone could spend a substantial amount of time researching and learning about.
  4. How has the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?
    I think the easiest way to explain this answer is by saying the Wilson Center has provided me so many opportunities. In just two years I have been able to go to Washington, D.C. three times thanks to the Wilson Center. After each one of those trips, I walked away with some new information that I found quite valuable. The information has ranged from foreign policy to domestic agriculture policy. Aside from the trips I have been able to go on, I have also been able to have dinner with some amazing guests. This year alone I was able to enjoy great conversations with the Honorable Paul Trible ’68 and Ambassador Ed McMullen ’86. The new Wilson Center program is shaping up to be something very special, and I say that with great confidence.
  5. Ian Lichacz '22What are your plans after HSC?
    My current plans for after I finish my time at Hampden-Sydney are very malleable, but there are two things that I know I want to do, the first being taking some time to restore historic buildings across Virginia with the hopes of flipping them and getting them appreciated once again. With rapid growth happening across Virginia, now more than ever we have to protect our Commonwealth’s history. The second thing I have my eyes set on is running for City Council in my hometown of Virginia Beach. I have served on city council-appointed commissions since I was sixteen and have always wanted the opportunity to substantially give back to my community. Once I get some work experience under my belt, I have every intention on setting out to serve my neighbors and fellow residents on City Council.

Ian Fitzgerald ’22

  1. Ian Fitzgerald '22 headshotWhy did you choose HSC?
    I chose H-SC because it felt like home the first time I visited the campus. The people I met throughout my visits during high school made me feel as though I was already a part of the close-knit family that is the H-SC campus even before my freshman year.
  2. With what activities have you been involved at HSC?
    Throughout out my time at Hampden-Sydney, I have been a Wilson Leadership Fellow, a member of the soccer team, Wilson Center freshman peer advisor, Student Athlete Mentor (SAM), resident advisor, and a member of the Garnet & Grey Society.
  3. What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows program?
    The thing that I have enjoyed most about being a Wilson Center fellow is being exposed to all different aspects of leadership. Through lectures, forums, symposia, excursions, and interactive activities, I have been exposed to unique and exciting ways to lead people.
  4. How has the Wilson Leadership Fellows Program helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?
    The Wilson Center has helped me develop traits that make me a better person, student, and leader. I have learned to communicate well and to establish good relationships with the people you surround yourself with because without those two things, no substantial progress can be made on anything.
  5. What are your plans after HSC?
    I plan to pursue a law degree and an MBA.

Ian Fitzgerald '22 with Professor Pontuso

Wilson Center Fall 2019 Visit to the Hill

On November 12, fifty Wilson Center students visited Washington for our annual trip. Special thanks to Jack Ruddy ’12 and Tuck Shumack ’95 for their important help with the logistics for the day.

We are grateful to Lew Robinson ’91 and Peter Neville ’89 who spoke about challenges and opportunities in national security; Charles Hurt ’95 and Tuck Shumack ’95 for analyzing the November state elections; Joel Velasco ’95 and Billy Ciucci ’02 for discussing the issues surrounding international trade; and Rob Luther ’03 for giving pre-law students a tour of the Supreme Court.

Finally, thanks to former Trustee, Dr. John Hillen, for giving keynote remarks that night. Our students better understand the complexities of international leadership because of your engagement!

Photos from the Wilson Center DC Trip 2019

Please read Dr. Hillen’s great baccalaureate talk from graduation 2019