An Elegy for the Tigers

Paul Fahrenheidt

Paul Fahrenheidt

Many a man thought himself wise, but what he wanted he did not know.

When John Hampden and Algernon Sydney lived and died for their cause, that of free religion and freedom from a tyrant, neither of them knew a college would be founded some century after both had left this world, just outside of a tiny Virginia hamlet that would come to be known as Farmville in the decades after. This college, while it has grown, can claim to retain the spirit of its founding: one which forms good men and good citizens. Something which far older colleges such as Harvard, William & Mary, and Yale cannot claim.

And yet, this spirit finds itself in jeopardy, challenged and battled by a modern world which has no place for good men or good citizens. New leadership in the campus’ administration has brought about a death by a thousand cuts for the old institution. The cancer of critical race theory, disguised as offices of diversity and inclusion, attack the roots of this pillar of the Old South.

The school which produced a President of the United States, several Generals, Congressmen, Scholars, men of repute, and above all: good citizens of the United States, may soon (if current events tell us anything) go the way of such schools as VMI and The Citadel. Being one of the last three all-male colleges within the borders of the Union, HSC’s death nail will be the co-ed which has destroyed so many of its like before. It will be the last of a long line of humiliations forced upon the Tigers, which are obvious to any student or alum of the college still with eyes to see.

The football program is not the best. Nor is any sports program here. College life (at first) is humiliating and demanding. Standards here are high, and being an outsider only ends poorly for the outsider. But sports is not the center of higher education. Standards are built on humiliation, pain, and suffering as they deter the weak and unserious. College is meant to be a place where men build bonds to last a lifetime. Bonds which are required for any civilization to run properly. All of these things, HSC provided to men from 1775 until 2018.

The Tigers were a symbol of what America once was, and was supposed to be. More than Jefferson’s UVA, more than the college founded in Washington’s name. Not just the Aristocracy of the Old South, who wore the grey when leaving the doors of their Alma Mater, have claim to this symbol. The pillars of the community in the German-speaking towns of Ohio, Indiana, and Southern Illinois, the Rancheros of Spanish extraction in the Southwest, the Boston Brahmins who populated the Ivy League, all have claim to this tradition. All torches snuffed out.

So here we stand, alone. Lit only by this last symbol of America, founded by Presbyterians on the latter-day-waves of the Great Awakening. A torch that was lit before the torch of America, with the English Charter and Coat-of-Arms to show it. Lit before America, yet it appears the school where men are men and women are guests will not survive the already dying Eagle. A pity, seeing how the college was true to her idea across three centuries.

May she forever stand as a monument to ages past, like the names she bore as a monument to an age before those ages past.

Victrix Causa Diis Placuit, Sed Victa Catoni.

Sincerely,

An admirer whose Alma Mater has stood across town from the Tigers’ since 1839.