March 24, 2015

Dear Friends:

The students have returned from spring break, and we are on the final leg of what has been a busy course of events this year. To get to know Hillsdale students is a refreshing experience that revives and restores one’s hope for the future. These young men and women are still strongly connected to the values instilled by their families and learn more in the classroom every day about the roots of American liberty. Through that daily defining and refining of knowledge, Hillsdale students reach an understanding that leads to maturity, responsibility, and a sense of vocation—be it in the sciences, theology, politics, or any one of a myriad of majors and minors offered at the College. It is the College’s central work to educate promising young men and women in fundamental truths that sound as a clarion call to live as outstanding citizens dedicated to making a difference for the better in our country and the world. You are encouraged to visit campus to meet our students and faculty and remember firsthand that there is hope and it exists and thrives on the Hillsdale campus in the hearts and minds of our students.

The Antidote to the Common Core…

Charged with a mission of promoting liberal learning and civic education through classical charter schools, the Barney Charter School Initiative is moving ahead at full steam. Four classical academies will be opening this year with locations in Palm Bay, Florida; Golden, Colorado; Mesquite, Texas; and Dallas, Texas. By this fall, a total of 12 schools—assisted in each stage of their development by the Barney Initiative—will welcome pupils to an education that will provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning. The news from the existing schools founded with the assistance of the Charter School Initiative is phenomenal in terms of the number of students enrolled and the waitlists that have developed. For instance, prior to the beginning of this academic year there were 300 students on the waitlist for Savannah Classical Academy in Georgia; 1,200 students on the waitlist for Atlanta Classical Academy; and 730 students waitlisted at Founders Classical Academy in Leander, Texas. This demand for classical education is in clear contrast to the state of most public schools and a measure of the understanding by parents as to the value of a truly liberal arts education in Grades K through 12. Please refer to the enclosed Barney Charter School Initiative overview for further good news on the classical education front.

Looking ahead, summer workshops directed toward new schools and principals will take place on campus June 15-16 followed by teacher training for existing schools June 17-26. The teacher trainings are taught primarily by Hillsdale professors as well as other classical education experts. To sample past lectures, visit the Initiative’s website.Other proactive measures in assisting in the creation of new classical schools include the school leader seminar at the end of June and the school principal candidate “boot camp” in early July.

For further information on the classical charter school movement, contact Phil Kilgore at (517) 607-2607 or e-mail To learn more about donating toward the Barney Charter School Initiative, contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail

Hillsdale College first took to the airwaves in earnest 15 years ago on the beloved Paul Harvey radio program. The ads were so successful in sparking interest in Hillsdale College that the initial campaign developed into radio advertisements airing on conservative radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Hugh Hewitt. While still continuing the radio campaign, the latest news is that a test is under way for television advertisements promoting the College’s “Constitution 101” online course. These began airing in early March and will continue for four weeks. This direct response television test will be supported by a call center to handle the responses generated by the ads. A total of 244 television spots have been purchased, for a total possible exposure of 37 million views, or “impressions” in marketing terms. Two different commercials will be tested of one to two minutes in length on 14 cable networks. You may view the television advertisement on the YouTube link listed below. Outlets for the commercials will include conservative news, talk, business, family, and Christian networks. The goals of this marketing test are as follows:

  • Educate the College’s target audiences about the significance of the Constitution.
  • Reinforce and build upon the audience’s basic knowledge of the College.
  • Assess if television advertising will spark interest in subscribing to Imprimis and donating to Hillsdale College.

Meanwhile, Hillsdale is being marketed through social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The overall goals of this social media marketing program are:

  • Increase awareness about the College and become more visible.
  • Share information about the College and engage interested individuals to build a Facebook community.
  • Find and create intentional contacts with the College by identifying individuals who purposefully visit our Facebook page in order to create an ongoing dialogue and feedback.
  • Generate interest in Hillsdale College educational initiatives and offerings, such as the online courses, seminars, and fundraising projects.

The following links will lead you to connecting with the College through the two major social media outlets and offer a bird’s-eye view of the inroads that have been made in social media:

  • Facebook: Please note that if you visit these pages, make sure to “like” the page and leave a comment if appropriate, since part of the success of a Facebook page is measured in how many individuals “like” the page, as well as the number of comments on various posts on the page.
  • YouTube Videos: You can help to raise our YouTube rankings by subscribing to Hillsdale College videos on this online video channel.

For further information on connecting through social media with Hillsdale College, please contact the Social Media Marketing Coordinator Hannah Strickland at or phone (517) 607-2711.

Hillsdale College Online Expands Once Again

A total of four new online courses were released this academic year. To recap, “The Presidency engineered by the Founders has been eroded by modern interpretations of the Constitution. Launched in October 2014, “Great Books 102: Renaissance to Modern” is an 11-week course examining works by authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe, Dostoevsky, and Mark Twain. This course is a follow-up to its companion course, “Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval.”

Moving into a deeper understanding of American politics is the recently released course on The Federalist Papers, which includes lectures on the separation of powers and examinations of the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches of government. Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn opens the 10-week course with an overview of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitutional Convention, and concludes with a lecture on “Constitutionalism Today.”

Given the widespread furor over the Common Core curricula, it seems only right that the other new online College course focuses on “An Introduction to K-12 Education.” This 12-week online course lays the groundwork of why it is important to teach phonics and handwriting to children, along with Latin, literature, and “The Tried and True Way to Teach Math,” as well as other fundamental elements of a classical K-12 education. This course will be especially helpful to teachers, homeschoolers, parents, charter school founders, and recent graduates who aim to teach.

These two latest courses bring the tally to a total of 12 courses available at There are 1,017,709 online course registrations, which translates into 709,693 individuals since many online students have registered for one or more courses. If you haven’t already registered, you are encouraged to do so at We also encourage you to share information about Hillsdale’s online courses as an excellent means of introducing potential students to Hillsdale College as well as forming the foundation of study groups within clubs, churches, or other organizations.

Hillsdale Academy Celebrates 25 Years of Classical Education

Hillsdale Academy opened its doors in 1990, with several small modular classroom buildings on a wooded site adjacent to the Roche Sports Complex. The Academy’s early enrollment amounted to 45 students attending Grades K-8, and grades were clustered together in groups of two and three, mirroring the red-brick schoolhouse concept of long ago. From the very beginning 25 years ago, the Academy has served as a model school that has become the standard for similar schools across the country. Hillsdale Academy students consistently test in the 97th percentile nationwide on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (Grades K-8). The Hillsdale Academy Class of 2014 scored an average composite ACT score of 27.2 compared to the national composite average of 21.0 and the Michigan composite average of 20.1. It is notable that 25 families have moved to remote Hillsdale, Michigan, from as far away as California and Alaska in order to enroll their children at Hillsdale Academy. Here are some other facts that help to complete the picture of this stellar school:

    1. There are 194 students enrolled at Hillsdale Academy, with 114 students in Grades K-8 and 80 students in Grades 9-12.
    2. 2015-2016 tuition will be $4,030 for Kindergarten, $6,150 for Grades 1-8, and $6,370 for Grades 9-12.
    3. At least 200 school administrators, teachers, parents, and homeschoolers visit the Academy during the typical year to learn more about classical education.
    4. The Hillsdale Academy Reference Guide is being used in all or part by families and schools across the country. The Guide may be downloaded for free at

This fall the Academy will celebrate its first quarter century on October 2 and 3. This 25th Anniversary landmark event will kick off with the Hillsdale Academy Annual Fund dinner and speech on Friday, October 2, followed by a fun all-school barbecue on Saturday. The Annual Fund began in 2012, and challenges the Academy’s extended circle of parents and friends to raise $100,000 each year toward an endowment goal of $10 million. The Weatherwax Foundation has issued a $1-for-$2, $20,000 challenge grant, which requires that $40,000 in cash must be raised by December 1, 2015. To learn more about the Weatherwax Challenge, contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail To arrange a visit to Hillsdale Academy or for questions about this exceptional school, please contact Kenneth Calvert, headmaster, at (517) 439-8644 or e-mail

A Seat of Honor Takes Center Stage

As reported last fall, the new Searle Center is taking shape at a rapid rate. Despite the record cold weather, hardy construction workers labored away, blasting out the old and mortaring in the new. Phase One of the Searle Center will be complete by September 2015, and will feature a new dining room with a capacity of 700 guests; a welcome center; escalators to move guests to and from the dining area; an elevator to bring guests to the main level of the Dow Center; and a stately brick façade that complements other campus buildings. Many of you may remember what was formerly known as Curtiss Memorial Dining Hall, where larger College banquet events were held over a span of many years. If so, you will be glad to know that the new dining facility will feature excellent acoustics, a wide expanse of windows, a new kitchen for banquet meal preparation, restrooms, and sliding door access to the Campbell A and B meeting rooms. The new dining room will have multiple uses, including CCA seminar dinners, Parents Weekend luncheons, formal student dances and dinners, and wedding receptions. All of this is being done so that we may better accommodate the increased numbers of visitors who have learned about Hillsdale through subscribing to Imprimis, by registering for online courses, or through the other numerous forms of the College’s outreach.

Phase Two of the project will shift focus to what is currently known as Phillips Auditorium. This functional and vital space welcomes audiences for the four CCA seminars each year, along with the Distinguished Visiting Professor and the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship lectures, and hosts larger student, faculty, and staff meetings. The capacity of the auditorium will be increased to over 800 seats, with current plans expanding the capacity by 231 balcony seats and 571 main floor seats. Along with this expansion, the acoustics and audiovisual equipment will be upgraded. The cost of the renovation and expansion of the auditorium is estimated at $4.3 million, and the project will not break ground until sufficient funding is secured.

The Seat of Honor Campaign addresses in part the funding of this much-needed auditorium project. Each Seat of Honor will feature a brass plate permanently affixed and inscribed with the name of the funding donor or company. A gift or pledge of $5,000 will secure one of these Seats of Honor, and the seats will be named on a first-come, first-served basis. A prototype of the new auditorium chair was on display during the last CCA of this year, and is best described as elegant yet functional. While reviewing the enclosed Seat of Honor description, please note that a final color choice has not been made at this early juncture in the interior design plan. For further information on the Seat of Honor Campaign, please contact the coordinates listed on the enclosed information sheet. To learn more about the status of the auditorium project’s overall funding needs, you may phone John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail

The Kirby Center: In the Eye of the Storm

The Allan P. Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship bears the stately address of 227 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C., at the epicenter of American politics. The Kirby Center has become a magnet that draws talented students, alumni, congressional staffers, friends of the College, and members of Congress who gather together to discuss core Constitutional issues. Some of the highlights of the recent past and plans for the future include:

  • A renovation of the existing facility that began this January, with an expansion of much-needed space, including two new classrooms and three new offices on the first floor; on the fourth floor, an additional three offices were added along with a radio studio and control room. You read it right—a radio studio was built to tie in with the radio journalism program that will soon be in operation on the Hillsdale campus.
  • One week after new members of Congress were sworn in, the Kirby Center hosted a strategizing session in mid-January with 40 members of the House Republican Study Committee.
  • Launched in mid-February, the Common Sense newsletter is a bi-weekly publication that will be distributed by e-mail and will feature essays, recent speeches, news from WHIP students, press highlights, and upcoming events.
  • A promotional video was created that gives an excellent overview of the Kirby Center. To view the video, go to and type Hillsdale College Kirby Center into the search box. The Kirby Center video is currently the first on the list of the many Hillsdale College speeches that will surface in this search. For example, this link will lead you to videos of the AWC Family Foundation Lectures, which are held at the Kirby Center and feature some of the nation’s top conservative activists and scholars. Enjoy!

This is but a snapshot of the many good things happening at the Kirby Center. For naming opportunities of the new offices and radio studio at the Kirby Center, please contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail To sign up for the Common Sense newsletter, e-mail Craig Kreinbihl, assistant director of the Kirby Center at or phone (202) 600-7300. You may also visit and add your name and address to the Center’s mailing list. Please make sure to insert the word “the” at the beginning of the Kirby Center’s web address since its omission will lead you to the website of a performing arts center. It’s amazing the inroads that are being made at the College’s Kirby Center on behalf of the Constitution. I hope you will find time to visit this dynamic hub of activity in the year ahead.

The Latest News for Hillsdale College Events in 2015-2016

The list of upcoming Hillsdale College events in the two months ahead will include luncheons in Destin, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Nashville, Tennessee, and receptions in Boise, Idaho, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The National Leadership Seminar on the topic of the statesmanship of Sir Winston Churchill will include speeches by Hillsdale President Larry Arnn; journalist Charles Krauthammer; and Richard Langworth, the founder of the Churchill Centre. Commencement will be the crowning event of the academic year, and will take place on Saturday, May 9, on the East Lawn if weather permits.

There is still time to sign up for the Hillsdale Hostel programs this summer; however, keep in mind that the June 21st Hostel on the topic of “Constitutional Issues and Controversies” and the August 10-13 Rockwell Lake Hostel on the same topic are currently waitlisted. For further information or to sign up for one of Hillsdale’s popular “learning vacations,” contact Peggy Youngs at (888) 886-1174 or e-mail

Another popular on-campus program is the Ladies for Liberty Seminar and Shooting Camp, which is not just for ladies anymore, since a new couples camp has been added the week of September 13-17, 2015. The dates for the ladies-only programs are May 17-21, June 14-18, and July 19-23, 2015. Program highlights include liberal arts lectures by Hillsdale College faculty, self-defense and handgun training, and an introduction to clay target shooting. You may phone Range Master Bart Spieth at (517) 610-5593 or e-mail for further information.

You may decide to take a trip with us on the high seas to Portugal, France, and England aboard the all-inclusive Crystal Serenity. The itinerary includes a visit to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy led by Hillsdale Professor of History Tom Conner, as well as side trips to Mont Saint-Michel and Bordeaux. The post-cruise tour in London will include a tour of the House of Parliament, a visit to the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, and a tour of Oxford University. Please refer to the enclosed brochure for details or phone (877) 242-6397 or e-mail

The College will be an exhibitor in early April at the National Rifle Association Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee, where staff, current students, and volunteers will meet individuals interested in learning more about the Hillsdale mission. If you will be in the Nashville area between the dates of April 9-12, please contact Kay Walworth at (517) 607-2477 to arrange for free day-passes to visit us at the exhibition featuring over 550 fellow exhibitors.

Please continue to send us the names, addresses, and e-mails of your friends and family who would appreciate receiving Imprimis and enjoy attending Hillsdale events in their area. The enclosed updated events listing will reveal what is ahead for Hillsdale College events. Should you wish to request an invitation, the e-mail addresses and phone numbers for the event coordinators are on the back of the event schedule. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Glorious Spring!

As I write this letter, today is the first day of spring. The first green shoots of the crocus are making their way through the thawing soil, and once again an amazing transformation begins to take place as everything returns to vibrant life after a winter of dormancy. Regardless of the season, each day on the Hillsdale campus is filled with spring-like renewal and progress, as the young men and women make their way through the rigorous courses, fun social times, and hours of studying that make up their experience as Hillsdale College students.

Hillsdale students’ path of scholarship and youthful idealism is reminiscent of a group of young conservatives who met in the fall of 1960 at the home of National Review editor William F. Buckley, Jr., in Sharon, Connecticut. It was there that a 26-year-old newspaper editor named M. Stanton Evans drafted the Sharon Statement, which was adopted by the group as “a succinct summary of the central ideas of modern American conservatism.” Among the Sharon Statement principles are the following:

“Free will and moral authority come from God; political and economic liberty are essential for a free people and free institutions; government must be strictly and constitutionally limited; the market economy is the economic system most compatible with freedom; and Communism must be defeated, not merely contained.”

These words still ring true some 54 years later. The author of the Sharon Statement, M. Stanton Evans, was a revered author, journalist, educator, contributor to Imprimis, and friend of Hillsdale College. He passed away earlier this month, yet his words will ring on in a call to action to those willing to make a difference for the better in American society. It is heartening to know that such enduring principles are still being taught at the K-12 level by schools with a classical liberal arts curriculum—an educational revolution that is exemplified and encouraged by Hillsdale College.

As the sounds and sights of spring begin to surface, I am thinking of friends like you and your partnership in renewing America. Thank you for walking alongside us as often unseen and unsung heroes. Know that with your friendship the impossible is made possible and ideals become tangible reality. Here’s wishing you a beautiful spring, and that we will meet again in the warmer days ahead.



Kathleen Ruddy, ’82
Director of Associates and Special Projects