Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent, coeducational, residential, liberal arts college with a student body of 1,400. Read more
The Dow Journalism Program presents a lecture by Jillian Kay Melchior, '09, on religious persecution in the war zone. Watch here
This free, 10-week, not-for-credit course, taught by the Hillsdale College politics faculty, will help you understand the structure and function of executive power in the American constitutional order. Enroll Now!
The November issue of Imprimis is now available online.
Pre-register now for Hillsdale College’s newest online course, "The Presidency & the Constitution"
Hillsdale College remembers Trustee Emeritus and alumnus Phillip M. Crane, '52
“Halfway through my freshman Western Heritage class, Dr. Gaetano told me that I was supposed to be a history major, and I told him it wasn’t going to happen,” recalls Maran McLeod. “One semester later, I came back to his office rather sheepishly with a declaration of major card in hand. He just smiled as he signed the card and said, ‘Told you so. Told you so, Maran.’” As a senior, Maran has a plethora of funny anecdotes and fond memories to tell about her time at Hillsdale College. Many of these stories involve her interactions with faculty, and it’s obvious that Maran has developed deep bonds with her professors.
One of the concerns Maran had about Hillsdale during her application process was that the environment here would be too analytical and academic. “I knew Hillsdale had a very strong reputation for academic achievement and liberal arts tradition,” she explains. “So, I was afraid that there might be too much emphasis on reason, and not enough of a faith environment for me to maintain and grown in my Christian faith.” However, her fears were quickly put to rest. “One of the things that surprised me was how often the subject of Christianity comes up in my classes. For example, during my freshman English class, Dr. Bart spent an entire class discussing the idea of nostos, or homecoming, in the Odyssey and how it paralleled the Augustinian conception of being restless until we rest in God, like Dante's reaching for the beatific vision in the Divine Comedy. Dr. Bart helped me gain a better love of my own home, but also helped me understand the sojourning aspect of faith.”
According to Maran, Hillsdale College professors take their roles as mentors to students seriously. “The professors hold you to a high standard, but not in a legalistic way. They help refine you and your knowledge. They also truly care about their students’ well-being, from small things like opening their homes to us, to going above and beyond in lending a helping hand to students that are going through tough situations.” Maran recalls one incident that impressed upon her just how deep her professors’ concern for students goes: “Last spring, my younger brother, who’s also a student here, had a health situation that gave us all a scare. Dr. Bart stayed with us in the hospital room for an entire day until my mom flew in from California. Dr. Smith also took time out of his busy schedule to visit my brother. In that difficult time, I really felt the love and care of my professors. It’s just a small example of the personal relationships between Hillsdale professors and students that gives meaning to the things we learn.”
Perhaps the thing that Maran most enjoys is the sense of humor and camaraderie of the people here. One of her favorite memories starts with an injury she suffered. “Last year, I was asked to choreograph the Music Department’s production of Mikado. It was an exciting opportunity and I was honored to do it! However, about two weeks into rehearsals, I broke my arm and had to get a full arm cast. I must say that Hillsdale is awesome when it comes to health issues—everyone is so understanding and kind. Anyway, being able to gesture is definitely crucial to the ability to choreograph, something my cast was making difficult to do. As a result, the entire cast ended up making their arm movements overtly angular, as if they were all in casts. It was hilarious and really cheered me up.”
Looking back, Maran advises students to make an effort to get to know their classmates and professors. “Before I came to Hillsdale, I really emphasized being unique and different from everybody else,” she says. “At Hillsdale, however, I am surrounded by so many wonderful people that I now aspire to emulate many of those I’ve come to know. I’ve started reflecting on the same things and coming to similar conclusions as my peers and mentors, and that’s a good thing. We come to Hillsdale because we want to contain and order our minds and souls. If your focus is self-centered, you aren’t going to get very much out of Hillsdale. My favorite memories are ones that I made with other people, from the Bible studies with the girls in my dorm, to sessions of spontaneous choral singing with my friends, to deep discussions with my professors. The life lessons I have learned from the people here are the things I will take outside of Hillsdale and implement in my own life, my community, and my career.”