If you want to see which institutes of higher learning place a high value on the Eagle Scout Award, simply follow the money.
That trail might take you to Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia.
Eagle Scouts who attend Hampden-Sydney, the 10th oldest college in the U.S., receive an automatic scholarship worth $5,000 per year for four years.
That’s $20,000 of free money toward an education at this highly ranked liberal arts school.
The hefty scholarship explains why 12.6 percent of students currently enrolled at Hampden-Sydney are Eagle Scouts. Exactly 132 of the 1,046 students at the college have earned Scouting’s highest honor.
So why does Hampden-Sydney offer such a sizable scholarship to Eagle Scouts? I asked Dr. Larry Stimpert, Hampden-Sydney’s president, for the scoop.
‘A perfect fit for Scouts’
Scouting is about more than learning outdoors skills. It’s about building character.
Similarly, Stimpert says, Hampden-Sydney teaches more than classroom lessons. In fact, students are encouraged to get out and explore the 1,300-acre campus and its many trails.
“The college emphasizes character development just as much as intellectual growth, and the values we believe in here are some of the same as those articulated in the Eagle Scout challenge,” he says. “This makes Hampden-Sydney a perfect fit for Scouts pursuing higher education.”
Living the Oath and Law
Scouts are guided by two codes: the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Hampden-Sydney students are guided by two codes as well.
“Our student code of conduct says that the Hampden-Sydney student ‘will behave as a gentleman at all times and in all places,’ and our honor code declares that the Hampden-Sydney student ‘will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do,'” Stimpert says.
In other words, they’re vowing to be courteous and trustworthy.
Building a network
What you’ve heard is true: Eagle Scouts hire other Eagle Scouts.
Similarly, Hampden-Sydney graduates enter a strong alumni network after college. This means access to a robust group of potential mentors, employers and friends.
“Entering Hampden-Sydney is about more than starting college; it’s about joining a lasting brotherhood,” Stimpert says. “And, one of our time-honored traditions at Hampden-Sydney is the expectation for students to say hello to those they pass on the pathways of our campus.”
In fact, that’s a big reason Mark Keefe’s Eagle Scout son, Duncan, enrolled at Hampden-Sydney.
“It is one of the reasons why my son looked at the college,” Mark says. “The brotherhood there was the deciding factor.”
Serving others first
One final parallel covers serving the community.
“Like the Boy Scouts, we also encourage a commitment to service,” Stimpert says.
On weekends, you’ll often find student groups at Hampden-Sydney participating in community service and raising money for local nonprofit organizations.
Duncan, the Eagle Scout, spends about 50 hours a week in the computer lab, but he still found time to be a counselor at a recent merit badge day for local Scouts
“Ultimately, like the Scouts, a Hampden-Sydney education is about transformation,” Stimpert says. “Just as Scouting gives a young man a wide breadth of skills and abilities, Hampden-Sydney provides the tools necessary for having not just successful careers, but rewarding lives.”