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DC Events

The Wilson Center is heading to Washington, DC for the annual “trip to the hill!”

Hampden-Sydney College alumni have proudly been making their mark in service to our nation since its founding. Here at the Wilson Center, we endeavor to “prepare men of character for lives of consequence.” Now more than ever our nation needs ethical leaders who can lead in multiple contexts, will improve the quality of our public discourse, and understand the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship in our republic.

Making the nation’s capital feel like a backyard for our students is a strategic priority for the Wilson Center. Speakers, internships, job shadowing, excursions, classes, and connections to think tanks and graduate schools help develop those important relationships.  We are excited to announce three upcoming events in the capital region. Contact Ryan Pemberton ’00 at rpemberton@hsc.edu with questions.

  1. The annual DC trip will take place on November 12th. Fifty students will ride the bus with Dr. Marion and hear from alumni and friends throughout the day, including former trustee John Hillen, who gave an outstanding address at the 2019 baccalaureate service.
  2. In the spring we will host a reception for friends and alumni in the DC area in conjunction with our annual Board of Advisors meeting.
  3. Over spring break, Dr. Marion and Dr. Pemberton will bring a group of 10 to the Washington area as part of a new class, INDS 385: Leadership and Public Policy at the National Level. Students will examine the connection between national policy and leadership while learning about organizational culture, decision-making, policy-making, and organizational and leadership theory.

Wilson Center: An Oasis of Excellence

Wilson Center Attends the national “Oasis of Excellence” Conference hosted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA).

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) is an independent, nonprofit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities.  Launched in 1995, ACTA is the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives a philosophically rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

As part of its mission ACTA promotes rigorous academic study, liberal arts curriculum, and broadening viewpoints through “Oases of Excellence.” These 65-plus programs share the commitment to educating students for informed citizenship in a free society by maintaining the highest academic standards, introducing students to the best of the foundational arts and sciences, teaching American heritage, and ensuring free inquiry into a range of intellectual viewpoints.

We are proud that the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest is part of this wonderful network!


Event season at the Wilson Center is in full swing! Academic and co-curricular life at the Wilson Center is enhanced by speakers and programs offered throughout the year. Here are some highlights of this fall’s events. As a reminder, you are always welcome to attend these public events!

  • Brigadier General Mark O’Neill (USA, ret) (parent of Colin ’11 and member of the Wilson Center Board of Advisors) gave a fascinating presentation about the way the tragic events of September 11, 2001, changed our national security infrastructure and the responsibilities of future leaders.
  • On September 16, we celebrated Constitution Day. Henrik Rasmussen ’03 (member of the Wilson Center Board of Advisors) wove together thoughts from Madison, Lincoln, and General Sam to give us a better sense of the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship.
  • Later in September, we hosted a workshop with the American Shakespeare Center, followed up by a wonderful performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Workshop participants learned about stage presence and situational leadership.
  • As part of Homecoming festivities, we had the privilege of hosting the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Ed McMullen ’86, who gave a fantastic talk about his current role and the way his Hampden-Sydney education prepared him for the position. The Ambassador also attended four classes and engaged with a small group of Wilson Fellows over a two-hour lunch. This type of deep personal engagement with leaders is a hallmark of the Hampden-Sydney student experience.
  • In October we welcomed back Michael Via ’07 (administrator, teacher, and head lacrosse coach at the Potomac School) and Morgan Scoville (head of school at the Fay School in Houston), who spoke to students about changes in educational delivery systems.
  • On October 16, Tim Tyler ’88 looked back on the Iranian Hostage Crisis after 40 years.
  • The Wilson Center joined the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship in welcoming noted entrepreneur Warren Thompson ’81 back to campus. The business leader provided deep and meaningful insight into his experience building Thompson Hospitality, one of the nation’s largest retail food and management companies.
  • In conjunction with the Ferguson Career Center, we hosted informational sessions with representatives from graduate programs at Cornell University and the University of Virginia. We are excited about the partnerships we have developed with both graduate programs!
  • As part of our outreach to Farmville and the larger Southside community, we hosted the Southside Virginia Model United Nations and the High School Leadership Summit in conjunction with the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.
  • We will end the busy semester with a visit from noted historian Jay Winter (professor of history at Yale University) on Monday, November 25. Winter will attend classes and provide a public talk about World War I and its impact on Europe.