Hargrave Military Academy

Hargrave Military Academy (HMA) is a private, all-male, military boarding school located in the town of Chatham, Virginia. Hargrave is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia emphasizing Christian values that focuses on a college and military preparatory program. The school serves boys from around the world for grade 7 through post-graduate (PG). Hargrave was named a National School of Character in 2016.[1] Hargrave is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and nationally by AdvancEd, and is a member of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States and the National Association of Independent Schools.[2] The school's campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hargrave Military Academy
200 Military Drive


United States
TypeMilitary, private, boarding, college preparatory
MottoMens sana in corpore sano
(A sound mind in a sound body.)
FounderT. Ryland Sanford & J. Hunt Hargrave
PresidentEric F. Peterson
DeanDr. Jimmy Tung, Ph.D.
ChaplainMichael Washington
Grades7-Post Graduate
Color(s)Black and Orange    
Athletics conferenceVirginia Independent Conference
RivalsFork Union Military Academy Fishburne Military School
AccreditationVirginia Association of Independent Schools and AdvancED
AffiliationBaptist General Association of Virginia

Camden Hall, Hargrave's administration building

History edit

Hargrave Military Academy was founded in 1909 by T. Ryland Sanford and J. Hunt Hargrave as the Chatham Training School (CTS). In 1925, in honor of Hargrave, CTS was renamed to Hargrave Military Academy (HMA). The renaming of the school was part of the school's evolution into a military high school in the early twenties.[3] HMA has been approved for JROTC numerous times since then, but many in the Hargrave community, most notably the Board of Trustees, feared that the addition of that program would put too much emphasis on military studies and reduce the emphasis on academics.[3] HMA has consistently operated independent of JROTC, however, including by utilizing its own uniforms, cadet rank structure, and chain of command.

On February 20, 1950, a fire destroyed Hargrave Hall and Founders Hall. No cadets or faculty were harmed, but Sanford Hall was the only building that remained unscathed. After an assembly before Colonel Camden in the Sanford Hall auditorium, a two-week vacation was declared. This was to allow time for Hargrave staff to work out a way to continue the regular academic schedule.[3]

The first African-American cadets were admitted to Hargrave in summer 1971 after the board of trustees passed a resolution that Hargrave would not consider race, color, or country of origin in its admission or employment policy and Colonel Vernon T. Lankford signed the Civil Rights Agreement. Andrew Ballen became the first black battalion commander in 1991.[4]

With enrollment at 586 for the 1970-1971 academic year, the Hargrave Corps of Cadets was organized into two battalions led by a Corps Commander with the rank of cadet colonel. Since 1971, the HMA Corps of Cadets has remained as a single battalion; its commander is a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. Female cadets were admitted for the first time in the 1975-1976 year, and Geri Lou Huizinga and Lynn Emerson became the first women to graduate from HMA in 1976. Hargrave made the transition back to an all-male school in the early 2000s; the last female cadets graduated in 2009.

In 1981, the school presented for the first time the General Douglas MacArthur Award; the first cadet to receive it was Henry A. Haymes. That same year, school officials turned down the request to film on campus by the producers of the movie Taps, due to disagreements with film's plot and opposition to the producers’ request to erect a wall around the front of the campus.[5]

A four-week summer program began in 2009. In September, Hargrave celebrated the school's 100th founders day under the leadership of Colonel Wheeler L. Baker. In 2021, a Hargrave graduate made history as the Honorable Sloan D. Gibson, HMA Class of 1971, returned as the first alumnus to serve as President of Hargrave.

Organization edit

Hargrave Military Academy is governed by a board of trustees. Many members of the board are alumni and community leaders. HMA created a charitable foundation to allow philanthropists an opportunity to make gifts to the school.

Presidents of HMA:

  • Headmaster Charles R. Warren (1909–1911)
  • Rev. T. Ryland Sanford (1911–1918)
  • Col. Aubrey H. Camden (1918–1951)
  • Col. Joseph Hathaway Cosby (1951–1970)
  • Col. Vernon Thomas Lankford Sr. (1970–1987)
  • Col. Michael Bruce Colegrove (1987–1989)
  • Col. Andrew W. Todd (1989–1990)
  • Col. Thomas N. Cunningham (1990–1997)
  • Col. John W. Ripley, USMC (ret.) (1997–1999)
  • Dr. Wheeler L. Baker, Col. USMC (ret.) (1999–2011)
  • Brig. Gen. Doyle Broome, USA (ret.) (2011–2017)
  • Dr. Wheeler L. Baker, Col. USMC (ret.) (2017–2018)
  • Col. Michael Allen Brown, USMC (ret.) (2018–2021)
  • The Honorable Sloan D. Gibson, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (2021–2022)
  • Eric F. Peterson (2022–Present)

Teachings and curriculum edit

One of Hargrave Military Academy's four pillars is academic excellence.[6] Both Standard and Advanced High School Diplomas are offered to graduating cadets, as well as dual-enrollment classes through Danville Community College, Liberty University, and Richard Bland College. In addition to the 7–12 grade middle and high school, a one-year postgraduate program is also offered. Eligible students can enroll in a variety of honors and AP classes. Cadets have the opportunity to make academic honor rolls every grading period, consisting of the Dean's List and President's List. Post-Graduate students are eligible for the President's Commendation list.

Hargrave utilizes an "Enhanced Learning Through Technology" program, providing internet access in every room on campus. Cadets have the ability to work on class material, study, and contact their instructors at any time, from any place on campus.

In 2003, and 2011 Hargrave completed two upgrades to the academic space, including four laboratory areas, a new art studio, a college lecture-style learning center called the DLC (distance learning center), a "leadership center" and a greatly expanded video production classroom where cadets produce weekly announcement videos. Also, Hargrave's campus contains a refurbished auditorium.[7]

Cadet technology resources require a personal computer for every student, while Hargrave provides access to Google Drive. An SAT prep program, and a variety of computer-based teaching applications in mathematics, English and psychology are all parts of Hargrave's academic approach.

Hargrave's library contains more than 14,000 reference and book volumes and a computer network. Through the network, Cadets can access 44 reference and research databases online, 19 reference eBooks in the virtual library, access the Atomic Learning Tutor for software programs, and access subject specific learning programs, such as Boxer Math. Hargrave also utilizes Blackboard, a class teaching program.[7]

Colin Powell Center for Leadership & Ethics edit

Hargrave Military Academy offers a General Colin Powell Center for Leadership & Ethics; that was established to provide Cadets with a challenging, progressive and structured leadership education. Hargrave Cadets are taught to lead in an academic environment and through practical application by applying learned leadership techniques in day-to-day situations.[8]

Cadets are given the opportunity to enroll in a formal Leadership and Ethics Class (a ½ credit class of 18 weeks in length). The curriculum includes an investigation of the foundations of leadership such as Leadership Traits, Leadership Principles, Leadership Styles and Ethical Behavior. During their sophomore year, Cadets begin to assume positions as small unit leaders (squad leaders) which permits practical application of the leadership principles learned in the classroom. Upon completion of this Leadership 1 course, cadets can enroll in Leadership 2, which goes into more detail on the leadership traits, principles, and techniques encouraged by General Colin Powell.[8]

Cadets who complete the requirements of the Colin Powell Leadership Program may apply for the Colin Powell Leadership Medal; an honor only select Cadets achieve. If they are accepted, Cadets will earn the Colin Powell Leadership Medal, and, upon graduation, a Certificate in Leadership Studies along with their Hargrave Military Academy Diploma.[8]

Military structure edit

According to its website, "Hargrave's military program is designed to present an environment in which a Cadet may gain a sense of humor, commitment, and fidelity. The daily exposure of a military environment assists Cadets in developing self-discipline, character, ethics, team building, and leadership." Military aspects include the wearing of uniforms, a military-style organization of personnel, ranks, and a chain of command.[9] Hargrave issues its own dress uniforms and PTG, but provides cadets with US Army style army combat uniforms.

Corps of Cadets edit

The Corps of Cadets consists of a battalion divided into four companies: Alpha, Bravo, Delta, and Band. Every six weeks grading period, an "Honor Company" is chosen. The honor company is the company with the best overall academic and military performance. For winning, they eat first at mess, and display a streamer on their guidon.

The rank structure at Hargrave is similar to that of the United States Army, and includes the rank of Basic Cadet.

After attending Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCO) School prior to the beginning of the academic year, cadets can obtain NCO ranks and positions. One cadet is appointed to the rank of Command Sergeant Major, serving on Battalion staff as the highest-ranking NCO.

Grade C-9 C-8 C-7 C-6 C-5 C-4 C-3 C-2 C-1
Insignia                   No Insignia
Title Sergeant Major First Sergeant Master Sergeant Sergeant First Class Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Private First Class Private Basic Cadet

The week before the start of their senior year, cadets have the option of attending Officer Candidate School (OCS), which allows them to obtain commissioned officer ranks. The OCS Completion Ribbon is awarded to those cadets who finish OCS. A cadet officer can hold many leadership positions ranging from auxiliary to Battalion Commander. The corps is run by the cadet officers and is supervised by the military faculty members. The Battalion Commander is the commanding officer of the corps. The Battalion XO is the second highest position in the Corps of Cadets whose primary job is to manage the Battalion Staff. The Battalion Staff is responsible for all operations throughout the Corps.[9] Blouse rank insignia on HMA dress uniforms is similar to those used at West Point, with large yellow and black edged stripes.

Grade CO-6 CO-5 CO-4 CO-3 CO-2 CO-1
Title Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Abbreviation COL LTC MAJ CPT 1LT 2LT

Discipline edit

The Bullring

Notable at Hargrave is the notorious Bullring, a square painted on cement in the middle of campus.[10] Cadets who violate any of the rules and regulations may be sent to the Bullring to walk tours.[11] One hour of walking around the Bullring in uniform makes up a single tour.[12] Cadets may also be briefly subject to PT in the bullring for minor infractions.

Honor system edit

The honor code prohibits cadets from lying, cheating, or stealing. Any cadet that violates, or is accused of violating, any part of the honor code may be sent to the Honor Council which consists of a panel of cadets that are appointed by school officials, where, if found guilty, may be subject to sanctions based on the severity of the incident.

Athletics edit

The Onishi-Davenport Aquatic Center

Varsity edit

Hargrave fields many varsity athletic teams, including football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, soccer, golf, tennis, lacrosse, cross country, track and field, and swimming.[13]

Post-graduate basketball edit

The Tigers have won three National Prep Championships since a formal tournament began in the mid 2000’s. The program has produced hundreds of players that went on to play NCAA Division 1 basketball, and 26 that have gone on to play in the National Basketball Association.[14] The program has also been a breeding ground for college coaches, as many former head coaches and assistants have ascended through the ranks at the NCAA Division 1 level. The Hargrave Military Academy basketball program was named “Program of the Decade” by RealGM in 2012 after a study showing that Hargrave produced more successful college basketball players than any other prep school or high school in the nation.[15] The program was also featured on a season 2 episode of CNN's Inside Man.[16]

Clubs and organizations edit

There are many clubs and organizations that cadets can participate in while attending Hargrave, including:

  • Airsoft club
  • Chess club
  • Drone club
  • Mountain Bike club
  • Fencing
  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Boxing
  • Archery
  • Skeet Shooting
  • Pickle Ball
  • Computer Programming Club
  • Young Life

Notable alumni edit

Politics, military, and business edit

Literature, television and arts edit

  • Andrew Ballen (1991) – A&R executive, entrepreneur and TV personality in mainland China
  • Tom Robbins – Novelist, short story writer, essayist
  • Sean Rankine (1992) - Executive Producer, This Way Out Media Inc.

Baseball edit

Basketball edit

Football edit


Notable attendees edit

Further reading edit

  • Fifty Years of Christian Education In a Baptist School: A Historical Record of Hargrave Military Academy 1909–1959, 1959, by COL Aubrey H. Camden
  • From Ashes to Excellence 1950–1970, 1984, by COL Joseph H. Cosby
  • Years of Change; Years of Growth: A History of Hargrave Military Academy 1970–2003, 2004, by Mary M. Tallent

References edit

  1. ^ "2016 National Schools of Character | Character.org". Archived from the original on 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  2. ^ "Hargrave Military Academy – Chatham, VA". www.charlottemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Fifty Years of Christian Education in a Baptist School: A Historical Record of Hargrave Military Academy, 1959
  4. ^ Tallent, Mary (2004). Years of Change; Years of Growth: A History of Hargrave Military Academy 1970–2003. Chatam: Hargrave Military Academy. Andrew Ballen of Greensboro, North Carolina, became the first African-American to serve as Corps commander at Hargrave Military Academy.
  5. ^ "Taps (1981)". Retrieved 9 November 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
  6. ^ "A Day in the Life of a Hargrave Military Academy Cadet in Five Minutes - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-12-05. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  7. ^ a b "Facilities & Resources". Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  8. ^ a b c "GEN Colin Powell Center for Leadership & Ethics". Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  9. ^ a b "Chain of Command: Military and Hargrave." Leadership Presentations. Hargrave Military Academy. Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Ethics, Chatham. 12 March 2015. Lecture.
  10. ^ "Getting used to military school". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  11. ^ Hargrave Military Academy Student Planner and Cadet Regulations, 2014–2015, p. 13-15.
  12. ^ Blake Sivon (23 March 2011). "Hargrave Military Academy bullring". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved 9 November 2018 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ "Hargrave Military Academy – Hargrave Military Academy". hargravesports.com. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  14. ^ Hargrave Military Academy. "Team Alumni". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  15. ^ RealGM. "Decade Look Back on Where to Scout College Basketball Players". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  16. ^ "Coaches are watching their every move – CNN Video". CNN. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Who Is Sloan Gibson?". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Jeff Allen bio". Archived from the original on 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  19. ^ "Five things to know about Muhammad Wilkerson". Archived from the original on 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  20. ^ "Ward Burton - the Path to Success - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2015-08-25.

External links edit

36°49′54″N 79°24′07″W / 36.83167°N 79.40194°W / 36.83167; -79.40194