An Overview of 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 programme. 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. 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. The school’s campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Brief History

Hargrave Military Academy was founded in 1909 by T. Ryland Sanford and J. Hunt Hargrave as the Chatham Training School (CTS). In 1925, in honour 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. HMA has been approved for Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) numerous times since then, but many in the Hargrave community, most notably the Board of Trustees, feared that the addition of that programme would put too much emphasis on military studies and reduce the emphasis on academics. HMA has consistently operated independent of JROTC, however, including by utilizing its own uniforms, cadet rank structure, and chain of command.

On 20 February 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.

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, colour, 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.

With enrolment at 586 for the 1970-1971 academic year, the Hargrave Corps of Cadets was organised 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.

A four-week summer programme began in 2009. In September, Hargrave celebrated the school’s 100th founders day under the leadership of Colonel Wheeler L. Baker.


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.

Teachings and Curriculum

One of Hargrave Military Academy’s four pillars is academic excellence. Both Standard and Advanced High School Diplomas are offered to graduating cadets, as well as dual-enrolment 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 programme is also offered. Eligible students can enrol in a variety of honours and AP classes. Cadets have the opportunity to make academic honour 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 utilises an “Enhanced Learning Through Technology” programme, 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 centre called the DLC (distance learning centre), a “leadership centre” and a greatly expanded video production classroom where cadets produce weekly announcement videos. Also, Hargrave’s campus contains a refurbished auditorium.

Cadet technology resources require a personal computer for every student, while Hargrave provides access to Google Drive. An SAT prep programme, 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 programmes, and access subject specific learning programmes, such as Boxer Math. Hargrave also utilises Blackboard, a class teaching programme.

Colin Powell Centre for Leadership & Ethics

Hargrave Military Academy offers a General Colin Powell Centre 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.

Cadets are given the opportunity to enrol 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 Behaviour. 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 enrol in Leadership 2, which goes into more detail on the leadership traits, principles, and techniques encouraged by General Colin Powell.

Cadets who complete the requirements of the Colin Powell Leadership Program may apply for the Colin Powell Leadership Medal; an honour 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.

Military Structure

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 organisation of personnel, ranks, and a chain of command. Hargrave issues its own dress uniforms and PTG, but provides cadets with US Army style army combat uniforms.

Corps of Cadets

The Corps of Cadets consists of a battalion divided into four companies: Alpha, Bravo, Delta, and Band. Every six weeks grading period, an “Honour Company” is chosen. The honour 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.

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. Blouse rank insignia on HMA dress uniforms is similar to those used at West Point, with large yellow and black edged stripes.


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

Honour System

The honour code prohibits cadets from lying, cheating, or stealing. Any cadet that violates, or is accused of violating, any part of the honour code may be sent to the Honour 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.



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

Post-Graduate Basketball

The Tigers have won three National Prep Championships since a formal tournament began in the mid 2000’s. The programme 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. The programme 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 programme 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. The programme was also featured on a season 2 episode of CNN’s Inside Man.

Clubs and Organisations

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

  • National Beta Club
  • Boy Scouts
  • Key Club
  • Spanish Club
  • Speech and Debate
  • Robotics
  • Drama
  • Choir
  • Band
  • Camden Rifles drill team
  • The Highlanders (Bagpipes)
  • Scuba
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Notable Alumni

  • Politics, military, and business:
    • Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV (1972) – former commander of United States Army North (5th Army), current President of Georgia Military College.
    • Walter Davis (1938) – former CEO of Occidental Petroleum
    • Walter B. Jones (1961) – US Representative for North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district
    • Herbert Lee King (1990) – President of Lees-McRae College
    • Sloan D. Gibson (1971) — US Secretary of Veterans Affairs,[17] President of Hargrave Military Academy (2021-present)
  • Literature, television and arts:
    • Andrew Ballen (1991) – A&R executive, entrepreneur and TV personality in mainland China
    • Tom Robbins – Novelist, short story writer, essayist
  • Baseball:
    • Jon Nunnally (1990) – Major League Baseball player
    • Taylor Sanford (1925) – head coach of 1955 College World Series champion Wake Forest
  • Basketball:
    • Larry Brown ’59, former head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets
    • Kęstutis Marčiulionis ’96, former player for Delaware who most recently played professionally with Volukte Kaunas. Won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics with Lithuania.
    • Korleone Young ‘98, Detroit Pistons
    • Lonny Baxter ‘98, Chicago Bulls
    • Anthony Grundy ‘98, Atlanta Hawks
    • Ronald Blackshear ’99, former player for Temple and Marshall. Last played professionally for CSU Atlassib Sibiu.
    • Josh Howard ‘99, Dallas Mavericks
    • David West ‘99, Golden State Warriors
    • James Thomas ‘00, Philadelphia 76ers
    • Tony Bobbitt ‘00, Los Angeles Lakers
    • Brian Chase ‘00, Los Angeles Lakers
    • A.W. Hamilton ’00, Head coach of the Eastern Kentucky Colonels
    • Ricky Shields ’01 , former player for Rutgers. Last played for Mitteldeutscher BC.
    • Sharrod Ford ‘01, Phoenix Suns
    • James White ‘01, New York Knicks
    • Tim Smith ’02, former player for East Tennessee State. Last played professionally for BSC Raiffeisen Panthers Fürstenfeld.
    • Stanley Burrell ’04, former player for Xavier and last played Czarni Słupsk.
    • Lorrenzo Wade ’04, former player for Louisville and San Diego State. Last played professionally for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA G League.
    • Joe Alexander ‘05, Milwaukee Bucks
    • Sam Young ‘05, Indiana Pacers
    • Ángel Daniel Vassallo ’05, former player for Virginia Tech and currently playing professionally with Leones de Ponce. Member of the Puerto Rico national basketball team.
    • Armon Bassett ’06, former player for Indiana and Ohio. Last played professionally for Ironi Ramat Gan
    • Vernon Macklin ’06 , Detroit Pistons
    • Tyler Smith ’06, former player for Iowa and Tennessee. Last played for Elitzur Eito Ashkelon of the Israeli National League.
    • Marreese Speights ‘06, Orlando Magic
    • Jeff Allen ’07, former player for Virginia Tech. First player in ACC history to record 1,500 career points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 steals and 150 blocked shots.[18]
    • Jordan Crawford ‘07, Boston Celtics
    • Mike Scott ‘07, Atlanta Hawks
    • Dee Bost ‘08, Portland Trail Blazers
    • Tommy Brenton ’08, former player for Stony Brook. Last played professionally for Link Tochigi Brex. 2013 Lefty Driesell Award winner.
    • Anthony Grundy ’08, former player for NC State. Last played professionally for Hacettepe University.
    • Eshaunte Jones ’08, former player for Nebraska and Northern Kentucky.
    • Damier Pitts ’08, former player for Marshall and current professional player for Godel Rabotnički.
    • Maurice Creek ’09, former player for Indiana and George Washington and current professional player for Prometey Kamianske of the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague
    • Luke Hancock ‘09, Memphis Grizzlies
    • Lorenzo Brown ‘10, basketball player in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, formerly in the NBA
    • J.J. Mann ’10, former player for Belmont and current professional player for Okapi Aalstar
    • PJ Hairston ‘11, Charlotte Hornets
    • Dez Wells ‘11, Washington Wizards
    • Montrezl Harrell ‘12, Los Angeles Clippers
    • Codi Miller-McIntyre ’12, former player for Wake Forest and current professional player for KK Cedevita Olimpija.
    • Ryan Taylor ’12, former player for Marshall and former professional player for Íþróttafélag Reykjavíkur.
    • Shannon Evans ’13, former player for Arizona State and Buffalo and current professional player for Atomerőmű SE
    • Anton Gill ’13, former player for Louisville and Nebraska. Current professional player in Iraq.
    • Terry Rozier ‘13, Charlotte Hornets
    • Donte Grantham ‘14, Los Angeles Clippers
    • Jon Davis ‘15, Orlando Magic
    • Hassani Gravett ’15, Orlando Magic
    • Naji Marshall ’17, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Football:
    • Branden Albert – National Football League player for the Miami Dolphins
    • Curtis Brinkley – NFL player
    • Ahmad Brooks – NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers
    • Zach Brown – NFL player for the Buffalo Bills
    • Martavis Bryant – NFL wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers
    • Quinton Coples – NFL player for the New York Jets
    • Ego Ferguson Jr. – NFL player
    • Jared Gaither – NFL player who last played for the San Diego Chargers
    • Laurence Gibson (2008) – NFL player
    • Charles Grant (2002) – NFL defensive end
    • Vidal Hazelton (2006) – CFL player for Edmonton Eskimos
    • Anthony Hill – NFL player
    • Torry Holt (1995) – NFL player, 7-time Pro Bowler and a member of the Super Bowl XXXIV champion St. Louis Rams
    • John Jerry – NFL player for the New York Giants
    • Brandon Lang – football player who last played for the Ottawa Redblacks
    • Solomon Page (1995) – NFL player
    • Jerrell Powe – NFL player for the Houston Texans
    • Justin Senior – Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle
    • Jyles Tucker (1903) – NFL player
    • DJ Ware – NFL player who last played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Muhammad Wilkerson – NFL player for the Green Bay Packers[19]
    • Keiland Williams – Former NFL Player
    • Ward Burton (1982) – NASCAR driver, 2002 Daytona 500 winner[20]
  • Notable attendees
    • Joe Alexander (born 1986) – American-Israeli basketball player in the Israel Basketball Premier League
    • Tarell Basham – NFL defensive end for Dallas Cowboys
    • Leonard Floyd – NFL linebacker for Chicago Bears
    • Montrezl Harrell – NBA player for Los Angeles Lakers
    • Shaq Lawson – NFL defensive end for Buffalo Bills
    • Evan Marriott
    • Jarran Reed – NFL defensive tackle for Seattle Seahawks
    • Isaiah Swann (born 1985), professional basketball player
    • Cordrea Tankersley – NFL cornerback for Miami Dolphins
    • Mike Tyson – NFL cornerback for Seattle Seahawks
    • Stephen Wallace (2000–2001) – NASCAR driver

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