Hampton University celebrates 150 years with founder’s family

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY)—Sunday marked the beginning of a very special celebration at Hampton University.

The university celebrated Founder’s Day with the descendants of founder General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. This year marks 150 years since the founding of the school.

The rain outside Ogden Hall wasn’t enough to keep students and alumni from packing in the auditorium. Hampton University celebrated Founder’s Day in honor of the man who started the school.

“It’s always special to recognize a man of vision, of courage or tenacity,” said Hampton University President Dr. William Harvey.

Sitting in the middle of the audience were the founder’s descendants.

“We had over 20 of General Armstrong’s relatives here,” Harvey said. “They’ve been here all weekend.”

One of those family members is Art Howe from Maine. “We are all proud to be part of that past and to continue in public service in whatever ways we can,” he said.

“The university has developed massively physically since I was last here,” Howe said.

This celebration went beyond speeches. It recognized Hampton’s distinguished alumni, like Lt. Colonel Claude Vann III and NASA Engineer Dr. Christine Darden. Both are products of a school that Howe’s ancestor created 150 years ago.

“It’s impressive and very humbling at the same time,” said Howe.

As the alma mater played out, Harvey looked on beaming with pride of Hampton’s past and present.

“When you look at the leaders who were here today, when you look at the members of General Armstrong’s family, that is what Hampton is all about: leadership and service,” said Harvey.