It is perhaps more important now, than at any time in recent history, to offer multiple, viable paths to young men to help them succeed. Allowing all-male educational options to fall away deprives boys and men of the institutions that may be personally and intellectually right for them.
Institutions solely dedicated to teaching and encouraging males to achieve – when society often expects so little of them – remain necessary for primary, secondary and undergraduate education. Men fail out of school at a higher rate than women, boys read at a lower level than girls and earn fewer A’s and B’s than their female counterparts. The number of male high school valedictorians pales in comparison to the number of females who earn that distinction and women graduate at higher rates than men.
But all-male schools have seen incredible success for their students, who have a wide range of abilities, talents and interests. That is why schools such as Chicago's Urban Prep Academy with its 100 percent college placement rate, and Hampden-Sydney College with its strong graduation rate – 11 percent higher than the national average for men – occupy an important space in America's education mosaic.
Colleges like Hampden-Sydney, Morehouse, St. John's University in Minnesota and Wabash afford the sons of an astonishing number of diverse families the opportunity to attend places that are focused explicitly on assisting students with their journey from boyhood, to "guyhood," to manhood. Although it can be a difficult task regardless of the student's circumstances, modern men's colleges and boys’ schools have done it well for years.
DR. CHRISTOPHER B. HOWARD, the 24th President of Hampden-Sydney College, is one of the youngest college presidents in the United States. Hampden-Sydney, a private, liberal arts college for men, has been in continuous operation since classes began in 1775 on its historic campus 60 miles southwest of Richmond, Virginia. In 2011-12, Hampden-Sydney improved 17 spots in the US News & World Report rankings, the largest such jump of any of the top 100 liberal arts colleges.
Dr. Howard is a distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy, where he earned a BS in political science. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned his Doctorate in politics at Oxford University and an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School. At the Academy he received the Campbell Award (previously known as the Draddy Award), the highest academic award in the country presented to a senior football player; he was inducted into the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 2003.