It wasn’t until the end of his first year at Virginia Tech that Alex Hamilton started to truly understand what his faith meant — and, to Hamilton, that meant an all-in commitment.

“If I’m going to make this commitment to my life, I need to know it,” said Hamilton, of Purcellville, Virginia, a senior studying political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. “So I started studying scripture, catechisms, theologians, and anything I could get my hands on. And then, after a year or two of all this studying, I wanted to share it with people.”

After offering a quick proposal to Newman Catholic Community’s leaders, Hamilton immediately got the go-ahead and began creating the Apologetics Series. Focusing on foundational subjects and hot topics within both Catholicism and other religions, the Apologetics Series invites scholars and students to simply seek and share knowledge. Hamilton asked a biology major to talk about religion and science and a history major to talk about the early church. What started as just an idea has turned into a largely-attended and anticipated series, with more than a dozen talks thus far. For more information about the Apologetics Series, visit the Newman Community’s website.

Hamilton was recently recognized for his work at the Aspire! Awards on Oct. 7.

With input, intellection, and context in his top five strengths, Hamilton uses these attributes daily to encourage his peers to ask hard questions — and to seek the answers, too. He currently serves as the Newman Catholic Community’s student campus minister, a role that oversees an organization serving 400 students who are actively involved, and nearly 900 who attend weekly services.

A senior, Hamilton is studying political science, taking after his namesake in a field it seems he was destined for. Following graduation, he plans to attend law school. He’s unsure exactly what path he’d like to take, whether in politics or law, but he said, “I want to go to the front lines and fight for what’s right.”

Hamilton was recognized at this month's Aspire! Awards for asking questions, seeking answers, and inspiring his peers to do the same.

“Curiosity for me is a search for truth and a deep appreciation and longing for knowledge,” said Hamilton. “Our culture thinks of education as so utilitarian — so many just want a degree to get money and get a job. But education and knowledge is good and beautiful in and of itself, not because it gives you anything.”

The Division of Student Affairs’ Aspirations for Student Learning represent the pinnacle of Virginia Tech’s aspirations for and expectations of students and of ourselves. They are:

  • Commit to unwavering CURIOSITY ― Virginia Tech students will be inspired to lead lives of curiosity, embracing a life-long commitment to intellectual development.
  • Pursue SELF-UNDERSTANDING and INTEGRITY ― Virginia Tech students will form a set of affirmative values and develop the self-understanding to integrate these values into their decision-making.
  • Practice CIVILITY ― Virginia Tech students will understand and commit to civility as a way of life in their interactions with others.
  • Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP ― Virginia Tech students will be courageous leaders who serve as change agents and make the world more humane and just.
  • Embrace UT PROSIM as a way of life ― Virginia Tech students will enrich their lives through service to others.

Students and employees who embrace one of these five Aspirations can be nominated for an Aspire! Award. Visit the Aspire! Awards website for nomination information and deadlines, and to read about other extraordinary Aspire! Award recipients.

The Division of Student Affairs celebrates the Aspirations for Student Learning through Aspire! Award presentations five times each academic year. At each celebration, a different Aspiration is explored, extraordinary students and employees are recognized, and the audience is challenged to seek knowledge in everyday experiences.

In addition to celebrating Aspire! Award recipients, departments within the Division of Student Affairs are hosting opportunities to engage the community in curiosity during the month of October.

  • On Friday and Monday, Strengths-Based Learning is hosting the Explore Keystone: Strengths and Curiosity Workshop to initiate discussion regarding integration of strengths with the concept of curiosity. Registration is available on GobblerConnect.
  • Converse with peers, classmates, roommates, or colleagues regarding curiosity. If you need a starting point, use the following resources to guide dialogue. 
  • Use #CuriosityVT on social media to share images and thoughts regarding spaces you feel most curious about on campus.

Written by Holly Paulette.

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