What My ‘Home By The Sea’ Means To Me.

***The outpouring of love that this piece has received is amazing – thank you!  It’s a true testament to the love that we all share for this special place***

A couple of days ago I sat down and attempted to put pen to paper to fully describe what Hampton University means to me.  In a succinct essay I wanted to express my feelings for the school, the magnitude of the experience, and the implications that the experience had on my life.  After I looked over what I had written it just seemed as though I was rambling.  There was an easier way to make you know and understand my love for Hampton University.  If a picture says a thousand words, then you’re about to get an ear full.  Hopefully the narration below will translate the depth of love that I have for my “home by the sea”.

When I talk about going back to Hampton for homecoming I’m often confronted with a look of disbelief, almost as if the person is saying – “how could your school’s homecoming still be relevant to you after all these years???”  And the expression that I give back to them says “how could your school’s homecoming not be??? – you need to request your money back!.” 

We may have graduated almost 10 years ago…

but we need each other now more than ever.

Hampton was more than just a place of brick and mortar…more than just a series of classes and requirements that led to a degree; it was a major experience that formed the foundation that would steer the course of the rest of our lives.  I have parents and a deeply rooted family who believed in me and firmly planted my feet on solid ground from the beginning.  One of the true gifts that they gave me was the gift of understanding the importance of the HBCU.

My folks graduated from Hampton University (original Ogre Phi Ogre class),  my paternal grandparents finished St. Pauls College and my maternal grandparents finished Tennessee State University…just like many cultures have a tradition that’s handed down to them…the HBCU is a part of my family’s tradition.  At this moment I am truly on the verge of belting out Reb Tevye’s TRADITION – TRADITION!! (Fiddler on the Roof reference, click here for full effect) …Why is this tradition essential?  Why is it relevant?  And why will it always be?

Because an HBCU affirmed that we were beautiful despite the standard images of beauty that were shown to us.

Because many of the people that we met at the beginning of our journey will undoubtedly be there until the very end.

Because an HBCU taught us what it means to have real friends, friends that you love like sisters – friends for life.

Because an HBCU put us through some of the roughest times.


And an HBCU made it possible for the times in which we rejoice.

Because an HBCU gave us our sisters.

….and brothers

An HBCU gave us a second family.

And as a family we celebrate each others’ successes…

We lift each other up and choose never to buy into the media’s negative depiction of who we are.

We are friends, scholars, leaders, mothers, fathers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, aunts, uncles, godmothers and godfathers, sisters and brothers who firmly remember from “whence we came.”

We will take our Hampton memories with us, firmly committed to let our lives do the singing and make new memories every step of the way.  As we walk around the yard, even if we don’t remember names we remember the faces, we remember the moments, and we’ll never forget the people that came along on our journey.  Because of the love and respect we have for our home by the sea, we will come back as often as we can to party together because we understand what it means to be family. 

We may not see each other often but when we do it’s all love.  Here’s to a lifetime of building each other up, to making many more memories and to holding this special place near and dear to our hearts.

– Much love Hampton family.

81 thoughts on “What My ‘Home By The Sea’ Means To Me.

  1. I couldn’t agree more!! Outstanding, the pictures are priceless!!! The lifelong friendships I made, bonds I share…I can’t explain it. You will only understand if you actually experience it for yourself. I love my HIU!!!!

  2. What a WONDERFUL synopsis of your Hampton experience. This is pretty much my experience in a nutshell, thanks for sharing. And pictures are really worth 1,000 words. Great post!

    -LaShonda (Ogre Phi Ogre XI)

  3. I couldn’t have said this any better. This past homecoming reminded me of why I love and will always adore my home by the sea.. Thanks for sharing the thoughts of many.

  4. Well said! Great lifelong friendships, memorable stories (good, bad, and ha-larious), and beautiful scenery to set the stage for makin a wonderful HBCU experience! It’s definately the way to go…no regrets here! I luv my HIU!

  5. Love this!!! While reading this I thought back on my experience at Hampton and your experience mirrors mine!! I will always love my HIU!!!
    (Ogre Phi Ogre XI)

  6. Great job Christina. I feel the same way about my expience at HU. Made so may friends and some I consider family. From groomsman in my wedding to those I speak to only once in a while. I love them all and wouldn’t trade anything for my time at “My Home by the Sea”. I love, I love, I love my HIU!!!

    Corey QT4

  7. I couldn’t agree with this more! Thank you so much! I love my Home by the Sea. The experiences I obtained there would not have happened elsewhere, that’s for sure…and I smile everytime I think of them and the people that shared them with me.

  8. Well said Christina…oh how I miss those days…but those days will never die as they will always live within us. Thank you for sharing!

    Ray (QT4)

  9. Christina, This is a very moving piece. I got goosebumps reading it. Very well done. Very inspirational. I plan to save this and print it off for my kids to read one day (they are only 4 and 2 right now) but I plan for them to attend an HBCU, primarily Hampton, but this piece is all I need to help convey to all of the naysayers why HBCUs are so critical to our community, our youth, and the greater success of our people. Hampton taught us the importance of Leadership, Giving Back, and Family. I to, love my Home By The Sea, and thus via our nonprofit org (LAWCF) we try and encourage all of our young people that we work with to attend and HBCU to obtain the same experience that we were fortunate enough to have.

    Thank you to all that came out to support The Lifting As We Climb Foundation fundraising party Saturday night at Homecoming this year. We plan to keep all of our fellow Alumni informed on other upcoming events and fundraisers that we will be hosting, including our next event which will be in Dallas,TX in conjuction with the Super Bowl XLV.

    Thanks Again.
    And Thank You Christina for all of your continued support!

    Again, great article, and I concur that this needs to get posted in the Alumni magazine!

    Great Job, keep up the good work!
    Siraaj (Class of ’00)

  10. I couldn’t agree more! There were days in undergrad when I would walk across HU thinking “I can’t believe I’m here!” And not just freshman year, but even my junior and senior year.

    Hampton was the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me. I’m so blessed to be part of the HU family!
    I love my HIU!

    Ashley H. (OPhiOXI, 10GT02)

  11. Christina,

    Wonderfully written! As you can see by the responses, this pieces echoes all of our hearts’ sentiments. Lifetime bonds and lessons….all from our “Home by the Sea”. Blessings!

    Royale (QT4)

  12. This is beautiful, Christina! You’ve obviously touched on all of our experiences. Thank you for putting my sentiments into words, as well, and may you continue to be blessed!

    Sheila (QT4)

  13. How blessed we are to be apart of a rich legacy! Beautifully written; I couldn’t have said it better myself. HU c/o 98

  14. Christina, I couldn’t have said it any better myself! Your words are truly beautiful and capture everything I feel about Our Home By The Sea!!! We are forever united because we are born into an amazing legacy of proud graduates of HBCUs. Our legacy, feelings, and experiences cannot be put into words, but I think you accomplished it through your pictures, words, and memories. The emotion behind it can be felt by us all I am sure! HU love and hugs!

  15. Well Put Christina – the way you summed it up really touched me! I love that ALL of us share the same experience and lifelong friendships. The fact that we all have that one thing in common,attending an HBCU, (and not just any HBCU,smile) , makes us all family!!! All of the HU generations need to read this article! – I know they feel the very same way! Good job!

  16. You are so right:-) The HBCU experience is like no other and there will always be a special place in my heart for Hampton. Great job girl. Beautifully written!

  17. Great job Christina! Reading it brought back so many memories! I always will cherish my “Home by the Sea” and all of the wonderful friends and connections I made and still making!

    Ayanna Hampton
    Onyx c/o 93

  18. Christina,

    I want to echo all of the previous comments. You were able to articulate of all our experiences at our Home By The Sea so well. This past homecoming was probably the best ever. It was good to see so many friends and familiar faces. I want everyone who reads this to make sure that you come back to your Home By The Sea EVERY YEAR for homecoming. Set aside that one weekend on your calendar to fellowship, reminisce, and create new memories.

    To my Lifting As We Climb brothers, well done as usual and let’s get ready to do it again.

    I’m so glad I went to H I U!

  19. Christina,

    All I can say is impressive, touching, and poignant. It was a pleasure seeing all of my classmates, my school, and friends at homecoming. Stay blessed fellow Hamptonians.

  20. You beautifully described the feeling that all Hamptonians carry with them. I can’t imagine having had a greater more fulfilling undergraduate experience. Thanks for putting into words what our ‘Home By The Sea’ means to us all.

  21. Beautifully written and my sentiments exactly. This was an experience, that I’m sure, is like no other…and for that I am ever grateful to my HIU 🙂

  22. Love, love, loved reading this post. You’re father and I had the pleasure to meet this past August. I was a participant in the Army Management Staff College CES Advanced course where he was my first coach! Nothing like O Phi O! NOTHING like Hampton University, our home by the sea!

  23. All I can say is WOW! I think you captured an entire generation’s love for Hampton in these pictures! I love I love I love my H… IIIIIIIIIIIIII… U!!!!!!

  24. Christina,

    Everyone pretty much said what I was going to say but thanks for writing this. You almost caught me slipping!! It was great to see everyone and it was just something about this HC that made it special. Going to Hampton was probably one of the best decisions of my life. You know I got mad love for you even though I was late for our study group!!

    HU Class of 2001

  25. You have masterfully echoed the sentiments of many fellow Hampton alumni who absolutely love our “Home By The Sea”. Thanks and congrats on a job well done.

    Antoinette M. Rogers, Ogre Phi Ogre VII, Class of 1991

  26. I loved every minute of my time at Hampton University. And as a fourth generation college graduate(all a product of the HBCU experience…Great grandfather studied under Booker T Wahsington at Tuskegee) I will certainly promote the experience to my children one day. It was truly the most unique time of my life and I will cherish it always.

  27. I’m glad they officially shared this on FB. I am glad that we all have a common sentiment about our “Home by the Sea”, regardless of the decade of our class. I hope this sentiment is carried on for several generations. Let’s keep sailing, Hamptonians. Hampton & Homecoming still takes me away. It’s nothing like it.

  28. Beautifully written! As the years toll after graduation, I can always reflect to my days at HU where I was truly transformed into an HU woman and Armyi officer. No other university could have provided me with a better foundation. HU is a tradition I cannot wait to pass on to our daughter.

    LaShanda Ellis-Ramsey
    MAJ, Army JAG Corps
    QT3 -’98

  29. Catering Manager: “Let’s pick out the colors for the table and chair linens. What are Howard’s colors? Blue and Red?”

    Me: “Uhm, no… there will be no blue and red at my law school graduation party. I only rock the blue and white. Please make a note of that.”

    – Sheila Ruffin
    Hampton University, Class of 2008, ONYX VII
    Howard University School of Law, Juris Doctor Candidate, 2011

  30. I absolutely love this Christina! Although the Hampton experience is different depending on when you attended, what activities/groups you participated in, your major, etc., there are certain things that we all experience…and you did a beautiful job of portraying these common themes. I, too, come from a very rich legacy of HBCU graduates in my family and feel blessed to be a part of it.

  31. Hi Christina,
    You and I are not only linked as Hampton family but also as family… your maternal great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters!
    There are many other Hamptonians in our extended family…
    At one of our Family Reunions I think we counted about 20 Hamptonians… and you can believe we all are able to relate to your summary of the Hampton Experience!!

    I was blessed to attend Homecoming last weekend!! I am in the class of ’61 and look forward to returning to Hampton Homecoming EVERY year.

    Your post reflects sentiments that are intergenerational and give us all pride. Job Very Well Done!!

  32. Out of the mouths of babes (since I’m from the class of 1979… “ogre phi ogre III”)… We taught you well. Home by the sea… fond memories for me!

  33. Im a senior in high school and am in the process of deciding which colleges to apply for. At first I was very hesitant about choosing a HBCU, especially Hampton, but recently after doing my reseach about the university, making plans to visit next week, AND reading this blog…I feel like I found my new home. The culture, the reputation, the people, and the LOVE makes me want to be apart of this so I can start my own tradition for my family one day. Being the first in my family to go to college and coming from a small town in Ohio, these are the memories I want to take from my experience and I feel Hampton will give me that and so much more.

    Thank you so much for sharing this and making it an easier decision for me to make Hampton my new “Home By The Sea”.

    • Please know that your comment absolutely made my day. I’m sure that you will be happy with your choice. Of course you will have good and bad days at Hampton, as with any college, but as you can see by the comments left the Hampton “experience” is one that only begins in undergrad…the friends that you make there will be your friends for life. You have an amazing journey ahead of you – enjoy the ride…and look for an email from me!

  34. I often have trouble explaining to people the impact Hampton has had on my life.
    You have done a wonderful job of capturing how I feel about the most wonderful place on earth!
    Thank you.

    Alisha Glover (Ogre Phi Ogre XIII)

  35. Beautiful essay of a beautiful place. I loved my experience there. I always said if there was a time I could go back in time it would be while I was at HI. c/o 80.

  36. Thank you for truly capturing the complete essence of our Hampton experience and putting it into beautifully articulated words. c/o 2001

  37. Wow! Your post made me feel all warm and sentimental 🙂 I too come from a family of HBCU grads so the decision to go to an HBCU was made for me & I am so thankful. After going to a PWI for grad school, I often find myself feeling bad for Black alumni from other schools because I think they’re deprived in some way, lol. Thanks for accurately summing up the way I feel about my college experience.

    – Lurena B. c/o ’03(OphiO XI)

  38. Well said Soror!!! I love this!!! This was the best Homecoming I’ve ever been to thus far since graduation! Everyone had such a great time and it’s always good to see Hamptonians. So happy to have enjoyed the Hamptonian experience with you.

  39. The current cost of an HBCU experience- Well over $100K
    Those life learning lessons- PRICELESS….

    PS: A shout out to all James Hall survivors!

    • Al Mundy, I know you have to be a proud father! Your daughter’s article brought tears to my eyes, and your shout out to “all James Hall survivors” prompted me to send this reply.

      Best Wishes to you and your family!

  40. Well said, well done…you put into words the reason why I love HU so much. Looking forward to a great homecoming next year! 10 years!!!

  41. What an awesome reflection! As I read and looked at your pictures, my thoughts went to my HIU Experiences. I have some of the very same photos in my collection with my sisters, friends and classmates. Thanks for helping me to remember! I am saving this for my grandchildren who I know will be Hamptionians.
    ( H I Class of 81)

  42. Hey Lady. I know I’m a bit late, but I’ve been meaning to write. Thank you so much for expressing and putting into words the love we all share by being Hamptonians. The bonds we have and the traditions we’ve embraced. These are what will always keep us coming back. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Christina,
    My goddaughter sent this to me (alumni) and I found it to be very well stated and absolutely true. I am, and very, very proud to say, a graduate of Hampton Institute (HI) in 1980. My best friend and I attended Hampton together, but I met some incredible ladies who have become my sisters and we have shared everything from the triumphs of marriages, births of children, children graduating from college, children getting married, to the tribulations of divorce, death of spouses, children, and parents. And through all of that we had each other for over 30+ years to walk with through the joy and pain.

    I don’t know if others have the same experience at other HBCUs, but Hampton, we know, is in a class by itself! It truly is and will always be our “home by the sea”!

    Very nice account of our national treasure!


  44. The Hampton legacy is alive and well! It is great to be a part of this magnificent tradition. I believe Christina’s experience is typical of Hamptonians; it certainly resonants with me. ~Margaret Lucas Jacobs, Class of 1964

  45. I know the feeling even though I am a golden alum. Some HIU things/feelings never change. So others can have the Hampton experience too we must not to forget to give back. Party return always enjoy your Hampton connection friendships on or away from “Our Home by the Sea” but please do not forget to give back. It was truely a joy to read & pass on to my classmates.

  46. I am a ’73 Ogre and I remember your parents well. Your photos are amazing. It is nearly impossible to forget the Hampton experience. Being a part of HIU is an experience that will not fade away. After more than thirty years, my memories of my Hampton life are clear and magnificent. Your blog is excellent! I love our “Home by the Sea”.

  47. This was beautifully said. To show our real love for Hampton University, we must financially support our school and our local Alumni Chapters every year. Last year, only 10 percent of Hampton’s 26,000 Alumni gave to the school. Your financial contribution will help students attend and graduate from our Home by the Sea. Any amount will help. Remember, our $10.00 Haiti contribution collected $10,000,000.

    Happy New year
    Joyce Wilson C’80 Washington, DC

  48. I don’t know if anyone will see this because I’m coming on later in the game.

    I remember being an alumnus of Hampton University, attending graduate school at Georgetown University, when I get a call from my cousin. Her guidance counselor had discouraged her from attending an HBCU saying that she was squandering her future.

    Well, my cousin was able to shoot back at that guidance counselor: “My cousin did, and he’s earning a Ph.D. at Georgetown”. She ended up attending Hampton University, and becoming very successful. And she writes a great blog called The Daily Stride.

    I am grateful to have had that moment with her, and for our successful cousins, parents, uncles and aunts that came before us.

  49. My compliments to you for putting together such a powerfully expressive collections of thoughts. I thank God for guiding my steps in life to becoming a Hamptonian! Our “Home By The Sea” is truly a special place. Ok, why did I just start humming the school song:-)………

    C.T. Hurte

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