Hampden-Sydney College

Hampden–Sydney College (H-SC) is a men's liberal arts college in Hampden Sydney, Virginia. Founded in 1775, Hampden–Sydney is the oldest privately chartered college in the southern United States, the tenth-oldest college in the nation, the last college founded before the American Declaration of Independence, and one of only three four-year, all-male liberal arts colleges remaining in the United States. Hampden–Sydney College is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

You will not live in the insular world of Hampden-Sydney's Founders. Your world could not be more different from theirs. It is, however, Hampden-Sydney's belief that the characteristics of the 18th-century gentleman are as important today as two hundred years ago. It is your task to prove it. ~ Thomas H. Shomo
This is a great school, but to remain great it must continually study itself, and avoid like the plague a spirit of complacency. ~ Joseph Clarke Robert
It seems to me from what I have learned that here in these gentle surroundings have been discovered the true functions of a university and its task of sending out into the world not only men of high educational and cultural standards, but men also of vision, of courage, of honesty and decision. ~ Percy Claude Spender
It is a treasured thing for a youth to have a special place in which to become a man- a beautiful place where honor is a virtue, civility a habit, and learning a goal. ~ Thomas H. Shomo
Boys always play better when they know the girls are watching. ~ Edgar Graham Gammon
Bagby Hall
The noble work of so many of her sons in all lines of high endeavor bears eloquent tribute to the results of this type of education. As long as Christian faith remains, the function of such institutions as Hampden-Sydney is necessary. ~ Edgar Graham Gammon
Cushing Hall
"From [General Wilson's] office window you can see the Birthplace, the office of Slate Hill Plantation, where a bright young minister led some of his ancestors and their neighbors in founding a little college in the woods." ~ John Luster Brinkley
There is no greater need than fine citizens and no better way to produce them than to teach in our Christian colleges the vital relationship between privileges and duties, rights and responsibilities. ~ Edgar Graham Gammon

QuotesEdit

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  • By ancestral interest and right, Hampden-Sydney was his College. He did not seek the position, but made himself available when he was approached about it; he was 69, and had been officially retired for fourteen years. He was willing to help, to serve, but not as a caretaker or Acting President; with the support of every constituency, the Board elected General Wilson President on 30 July 1992. From his office window you can see the Birthplace, the office of Slate Hill Plantation, where a bright young minister led some of his ancestors and their neighbors in founding a little college in the woods.
    • John Luster Brinkley, On This Hill: A Narrative History of Hampden-Sydney College (1994), p. 846
  • ...And that, in order to preserve in the minds of the students that sacred love and attachment which they should ever bear to the principles of the present glorious revolution, the greatest care and caution shall be used in electing such professors and masters, to the end that no person shall be so elected unless the uniform tenor of his conduct manifests to the world his sincere affection for the liberty and independence of the United States of America.
    • Excerpt from Article III of the Charter of 28 June 1783, An Act for Incorporating the Trustees of Hampden-Sydney, as quoted by John Luster Brinkley in On This Hill: A Narrative History of Hampden-Sydney College (1994), p. 852
  • Education here is not a matter of mere books and courses. There is a nobler effort than the training of the intellect. The true aim of Hampden-Sydney is to reach the whole man, to send him forth more eager for life than just to make a living. Hampden-Sydney has never been congenial with mass production. The chief concern has always been with the individual. The stream that has gone forth from the institution has not been wide, but it has been deep. The true Hampden-Sydney man holds his own in any company. Such men, often unconsciously even as they smiled at "traditions," have, nevertheless, been powerfully influenced by these same traditions. When, as the years pass, this truth is borne upon them, they pay willing and glad homage to the institution responsible for such an effect in their lives.
    • Edgar Graham Gammon, Kaleidoscope (1941), p. 21
  • In view of the part played by Hampden-Sydney men in the past wars of the Nation, what they are doing in the present conflict causes no surprise. From the very beginning the call to arms was answered by our faculty, student body, and alumni. Today Hampden-Sydney men in nearly every branch of the service are with the fighting forces all over the world. Some have given their lives; others are wearing decorations for valor. All are doing their best. Each one is held in the high affection and admiration of his Alma Mater.
    • Edgar Graham Gammon, Kaleidoscope (1944), p. 7
  • Boys always play better when they know the girls are watching.
    • Edgar Graham Gammon in a writing in 1903, as quoted by John Luster Brinkley in On This Hill (1994), p. 431
  • Hampden-Sydney has from its beginning been more than an educational institution. It has been that to a high degree, but the school has been ever mindful of and engaged in that type of education which is called Christian. The noble work of so many of her sons in all lines of high endeavor bears eloquent tribute to the results of this type of education. As long as Christian faith remains, the function of such institutions as Hampden-Sydney is necessary.
    • Edgar Graham Gammon in remarks in early 1945, as quoted by John Luster Brinkley in On This Hill (1994), p. 684
  • Vigorous efforts have been and are being made to instill into the young men the true meaning of liberty, the knowledge that rights without responsibilities are impossible... There is no greater need than fine citizens and no better way to produce them than to teach in our Christian colleges the vital relationship between privileges and duties, rights and responsibilities.
    • Edgar Graham Gammon in remarks in February 1946, as quoted by John Luster Brinkley in On This Hill (1994), p. 729
  • The number of Hampden-Sydney men who participated in the Spanish-American War is not known. In World War I Hampden-Sydney men enlisted in great numbers. The Memorial Gate bears the names of fourteen Alumni who made the supreme sacrifice. Under Federal Officers the S.A.T.C. was promptly organised at the College, and Army regulations prevailed as they do at present in World War II. According to an incomplete study made of Hampden-Sydney Alumni in World War II the most accurate estimate seems to indicate that thirty-three percent are now engaged in the several branches of the service. With deepest regret and sorrow the College has received the news of the death of eighteen of these valiant sons. Since its inauguration July 1, 1943, the Naval V-12 Program has given partial training to five hundred and fifteen enlisted men. Of these, eighty-two have gone on to Midshipman Schools; twenty-five to Medical Schools; forty-one to other V-12 units; sixty to various Units connected with the fleet; and two to Annapolis. At present the Naval Roster shows two hundred and forty-five aboard. Hampden-Sydney and all of her sons rightly share in the phrase, "well done."
    • Kaleidoscope (1944), p. 67
  • This is a great school, but to remain great it must continually study itself, and avoid like the plague a spirit of complacency.
    • Joseph Clarke Robert, as quoted by John Luster Brinkley in On This Hill (1994), p. 762
  • The Hampden-Sydney ideal of a gentleman reaches back to the 18th century and to the men of the early Republic who defined their lives by honor, service, public virtue, and personal self-restraint. This is what the College's Founders meant by "good men and good citizens." To form good men and good citizens is still today the mission of Hampden-Sydney College. However, you will not live in the insular world of Hampden-Sydney's Founders. Your world could not be more different from theirs. It is, however, Hampden-Sydney's belief that the characteristics of the 18th-century gentleman are as important today as two hundred years ago. It is your task to prove it.
    • Thomas H. Shomo, To Manner Born, To Manners Bred: A Hip-pocket Guide to Etiquette for the Hampden-Sydney Man, 9th edition (2016), p. 11
  • Critics say that the book takes a very narrow world view, as if the world were circumscribed by the boundaries of the Hampden-Sydney campus. To Manner Born, To Manners Bred was written for the students of Hampden-Sydney College; whatever other readership it has was unintended. This campus is a little world, and for our students it is their special place for four years. They know, however, that it will not be their world forever, and they are preparing themselves to be "good men and good citizens" as understood in the 18th century and in the 21st century. It is a treasured thing for a youth to have a special place in which to become a man- a beautiful place where honor is a virtue, civility a habit, and learning a goal.
    • Thomas H. Shomo, To Manner Born, To Manners Bred: A Hip-pocket Guide to Etiquette for the Hampden-Sydney Man, 9th edition (2016), p. 68
  • When you leave the little world of Hampden-Sydney, you will still have much to learn of the diversity of the greater world, of the customs and manners of the many cultures you will encounter and interact with as you make your life and living in a global economy. I hope that your recognition of the value of the traditional social customs as they are practiced in our small community will make you keenly aware of the importance of the traditional social customs of other communities- whether ethnic neighborhoods or nations. I end this epilogue as I have ended others before. You are a Hampden-Sydney Gentleman, and as Cardinal Newman wrote, "It is almost the definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain."
    • Thomas H. Shomo, To Manner Born, To Manners Bred: A Hip-pocket Guide to Etiquette for the Hampden-Sydney Man, 9th edition (2016), p. 68-69
  • It seems to me from what I have learned that here in these gentle surroundings have been discovered the true functions of a university and its task of sending out into the world not only men of high educational and cultural standards, but men also of vision, of courage, of honesty and decision.
    • Percy Claude Spender, Australian Ambassador to the United States from 1951 to 1958, as quoted in the Kaleidoscope (1956), p. 4
  • When a civil war began in the 1640s between the King's forces and the Parliamentary forces, many English religious dissenters joined the anti-royalists. At this time, Virginia's royal governor, William Berkeley, reacted by arbitrarily condemning all Virginia dissenters as similar being seditious anti-royalists; some Tidewater dissenters were banished from Virginia at this time, while others simply moved farther up the James River to areas (in present-day Hanover County) north and west of its fall-line. Some of these "uprooted and transplanted" Piedmont dissenters became the ancestors of the Presbyterian congregation that would later be formed at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia.
    • William E. Thompson, Her Walls Before Thee Stand: The 235-Year History of the Presbyterian Congregation at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia (2010), revised 2011 edition, p. 20
  • By the mid-1700s the Presbyterians in the middle colonies had grown so impatient with the scarcity of ordained ministers coming to North America from the English and Scottish universities, that they began to train and to verify their own ministers by means of several "home-grown" seminaries which critics derisively called "log colleges" (which were allegedly grossly inferior to the renowned universities of Great Britain). The most prominent of these log colleges was the one which eventually developed into the College of New Jersey, which- following several temporary locations- finally and permanently settled in the village of Princeton. It would be alumni from the "log college movement" who were the first preachers to respond to the pleas which had consistently come from "the remote Parts" of Virginia, and with their missionary labors during the 1750s they laid the foundations for the Hampden-Sydney college and church.
    • William E. Thompson, Her Walls Before Thee Stand: The 235-Year History of the Presbyterian Congregation at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia (2010), revised 2011 edition, p 25
  • Truthfully no one knows for certain how the conjoined names of John Hampden and Algernon Sydney came to be attached to this college and its village. For certain, both in 18th century England and in the North American colonies these two protesting patriots' names had come to be attached to disaffected colonial political groups. College historian John Brinkley suggested that the college name was perhaps given to Samuel Stanhope Smith by his patriot father-in-law, the Declaration signer, John Witherspoon, in the spring of 1776, but while this is a very logical guess, it is unsubstantiated in provable fact. We do know, however, that John Witherspoon was an ardent admirer of both men. Hampden had been mortally wounded on Chalgrove Field (near his home) just outside Oxford, England, on 14 June 1643, and he died nearly a week later on 18 June 1643. The political apologist Algernon Sydney had been beheaded at the Tower of London on 7 December 1683. By the time of the American Revolution there were some anti-royalist patriotic groups that were convening in several of the colonies under the name of being "Hampden-Sydney Societies."
    • William E. Thompson, Her Walls Before Thee Stand: The 235-Year History of the Presbyterian Congregation at Hampden-Sydney, Virginia (2010), revised 2011 printing, p. 45

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