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New Mentorship Component Offered

An exciting part of our newly established year three of the Wilson Leadership Fellows program is a mentorship component. Mentorship is one of our three pedagogical pillars. The others are reflection and practice, along with community. Throughout the program, fellows are mentored by upperclassmen at various sessions, service projects, and workshops, as well as by their leadership advisors, who work with the same fellows for their entire four years. At the start of year three, fellows are also assigned an alumni/trustee mentor whom they will work with for two years. These mentors are engaged Wilson Center volunteers, members of the Board of Advisors, or members of the James Madison Society (a group of former Hampden-Sydney trustees who are committed to serving the College and its outstanding young men).

A key purpose of this alumni mentorship component is to ensure our fellows know they are supported fully by the larger Hampden-Sydney community. Specifically, mentors work with fellows to support their entry into a chosen profession and the Hampden-Sydney alumni network. Matches were made virtually (unfortunately, because of COVID-19 precautions) at the start of the academic year. We do hope to host a mentor/mentee in-person outing this spring at Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s Charlotte County home. 

Mentor and mentee discussions may include specific class work that supports entrance into a given profession or graduate school, academic/co-curricular balance, professional networking, and entrance into the Hampden-Sydney alumni network. We are excited about the development of these relationships, and we thank our mentors for making an investment in the lives of our outstanding young men!

Leadership Fellows Pre-term Workshop Update

Sixty-eight outstanding young men started their journeys as Wilson Fellows on Monday, August 17th.  These fellows were student body presidents, Eagle Scouts, Boys State participants, decorated athletes and scholars. More importantly, they are earnest, hard-working, and decent young men. We are very excited to work with them.

During their pre-term Martin Leadership Program workshop, fellows heard from Dr. James Pontuso and Dr. Gene Hickok, hiked the Wilson trail, engaged in case studies, had fun on our ropes course, and built a sense of community. Since the start of classes, fellows have learned about leadership from President Stimpert; learned lessons from the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, in a discussion with Wheat Professor John Hillen; and engaged in workshops with the American Shakespeare Center. Later this semester they will take the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator and learn about emotional intelligence in hopes that each fellow will become more self-aware and prepared to be part of successful teams.

Each fellow is paired with a leadership advisor who will work with the young man for four years, helping him connect his classroom work to his co-curricular pursuits so that he may get the most out of his time on the Hill. All fellows are placed into a foundational leadership class designed specifically for Wilson Fellows. Class topics include leadership in antiquity; interfaith leadership; modern American leaders; U.S. military and national security; leadership and personality; and labor camps, crime, and leadership in the Soviet Union. 

Our fellows are eager to become the very best versions of themselves. It is a calling to work with these “men of character” who will lead “lives of consequence.” Foundational program goals include ethical decision-making, civil discourse, leadership in diverse contexts, and active citizenship.

The Martin Leadership Program is year one of the four-year Wilson Leadership Fellows program, named in honor of David Martin ’52. A smart, creative, and successful advertising executive, David was a consummate Hampden-Sydney man and it is fitting that the program is named in his memory. His wife, Louise Martin, remains active with the program and the Wilson Center. She currently serves on the Wilson Center Board of Advisors.

Andrew Smith ’22

Andrew Smith headshot
  • Why did you choose HSC?
    I chose Hampden-Sydney because I was looking for a smaller college that would provide me with opportunities to succeed. I came on an overnight visit my senior year of high school and immediately felt at home. I met some incredible people and wanted to develop the close relationships I saw on campus between students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
  • What activities have you been engaged with on campus?
    In addition to serving as a Wilson Fellow, I am a member of the Garnet and Grey Society, the President’s Men, and the Pre-Health Society. I am in Alpha Epsilon Delta, a health pre-professional honor society. I have also served as the annotator and COVID-19 chair for the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
  • What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows program?
    I have enjoyed meeting my fellow members in the program. It provided an environment to meet other leaders that have been in every organization I am involved with on campus. Now that my brother is a freshman in the program, I look forward to working with him at events, too.
  • How has the WLFP helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?
    The program has allowed me to examine leadership through a different lens than I did in the past. We get to talk about leadership in an academic setting and practice what we have learned in a controlled environment. I have also had amazing mentors through the program who have improved my overall college experience.
  • What are your plans after HSC?
    Following graduation, I plan on going to medical school.
Andrew Smith with his brother
Andrew, pictured with his brother Jack ’24

Wilson Archive Update

Upon his passing in the summer of 2017, General Wilson’s family donated all of 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 other 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 2019—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 the nation. 

As of September 2020, much progress has been made on the Sam Wilson Papers. Over the summer, Dr. Woodward took a detailed inventory of the major sections of the collection. Most of General Sam’s papers cover his life and career from 1970 until his death in 2017. This inventory, which spans more than 70 pages, includes notes on all of General Wilson’s correspondence, covering his world travel, teaching, and professional activities. His papers contain much discussion of politics, the military, and other important events that have taken place since Richard Nixon’s election as president.

In March, COVID-19 forced Hampden-Sydney College to cancel in-person classes and staff members were encouraged to work from home. Dr. Woodward took the opportunity to start a blog dedicated to the Wilson project. There you will find articles on General Sam, transcriptions of interesting and historic letters written by him and his family, and photographs from the collection. A recent update features government photos documenting the wartime experiences of Merrill’s Marauders in Burma in 1943 and 1944. All blog posts are free and available to the public.

In the spring, Dr. Woodward began an interview series on General Wilson, talking with those who knew Sam well. His first guest was Drew Prehmus ’08 who wrote the General’s one and only biography. Another guest has been Joe Galloway, author of We Were Soldiers Once and Young and a close friend of Sam’s. These podcast are available on the WordPress blog referenced above. Dr. Woodward is also getting the word out on the Wilson project. This summer, he wrote an article on the Wilson papers for the Society of American Archivists’ online publication Archival Outlook. He also wrote a piece on Wilson for the FarmvilleHerald. Although he was scheduled to present a paper on General Wilson at the Virginia Forum in September, the conference has been rescheduled for March 2021 due to the pandemic.

Support the Wilson Center

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 Hampden-Sydney College and the Wilson Center. 

Support our outstanding young men and this worthy endeavor of preparing “men of character for lives of consequence.”

Fall Public Events

While we are disappointed to not have visiting speakers on campus this fall because of COVID-19 precautions, we are excited to offer a variety of zoom discussions this fall. We are confident these outstanding speakers will help our students connect theory and practice while providing great insight on current events. Alumni, parents, and friends are more than welcome to join the following discussions: 

  • Henrik Rasmussen ’03Constitution Day – September 23, 7:30 pm
  • Chris Peace ’98Current State of VA Politics – September 30, 7:30 pm
  • Chris Stirewalt ’97The 2020 Election – Monday, October 5, 7:30 pm 
  • Dr. John HillenDueling Visions: America’s Role in the World and the 2020 Election – October 7, 7:30 pm
  • Dr. Heinemann and Dr. MarionPros and Cons of our Electoral College – October 21, 7:30 pm

Lucio Chavez ’22

Lucio Chavez headshot
  • Why did you choose HSC?
    When applying to colleges, I never expected one to show as much interest in me as Hampden-Sydney did. I felt like part of the brotherhood through the interactions that I had during my first visit. The close-knit environment makes the campus seem less like a college campus and more like community. There is no other college that delivers this atmosphere of brotherhood. 
  • What activities have you been engaged with on campus?
    In addition to serving as a Wilson Leadership Fellow, I am president of the Pre-Law Society, vice president of the Outsiders Club, associate editor of The Tiger, a resident advisor, a peer advisor for a freshman advisory group, chairman of the Orientation and Service Leaders, a member of the Brother for Brother program, and a junior member of UPLS.
  • What have you enjoyed most about the Wilson Leadership Fellows program?
    What I have enjoyed most about the program is the small group conversations. Being able to hold conversations with fellow students has helped expand my understanding of leadership. 
  • How has the WLFP helped you grow as a person, student, or leader?
    The WLFP and the Intro to Leadership course have helped sharpen my ideals. The program introduced me to ways and beliefs that have helped me grow as a Hampden-Sydney man. As I have assumed positions of leadership throughout my time in college, the program has become a stepping-stone to becoming a better leader. The instructors within the program have expanded my knowledge in leader-follower relations and defining my role as a leader.
  • What are your plans after HSC?
    I plan to pursue a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in social policy; I also hope to attend law school in the later future. I am excited that Hampden-Sydney and the Wilson Center have established formal relationships with programs at Cornell, Pepperdine, and Batten at UVA. I plan to look at all three programs closely.
Lucio Chavez
left to right, Virginia state Senator Jennifer L. McClellan, Lucio Chavez ’22, and Cynthia Hudson, Virginia’s chief deputy attorney