As a friend of Hillsdale College, you know its old history. You know the connection between its noblemission and the founding principles of America. You also know our recent history—how the College ran afoul of the federal government in the 1970s and how Hillsdale launched an unprecedented campaign to preserve its independence by promoting principles of freedom nationwide. For more than three decades, Hillsdale has operated independently of any federal taxpayer support and free of any federal government control. Hillsdale stands as a national beacon of independence. In this it remains true to its own and our country’s founding documents.
Hillsdale’sArticles of Association, written in the decade before the Civil War, set forth our mission. It rests on the principles of “sound learning.” Education is sound when it elevates the mind and character to knowledge of the highest purposes of human life, in which are found both the ground and the meaning of human freedom. In service to this freedom, recognized in our founding document as the “blessings of civil and religious liberty” and “intelligent piety,” our college is tied inextricably to the cause of America as it was first articulated.
In January 2001, the College launched its $400 million Founders Campaign, an ambitious plan for Hillsdale’s future. Having reached our overall financial goal of $400 million, we aim to raise an additional $208 million. It is an ambitious and bold undertaking; also it is vital. It will help to guarantee the survival of our college in independent service, and it will make our outreach to others both wider and deeper.
The expanded campaign goal includes three major parts. First is to continue increasing the College's endowment for both scholarships and the general operating budget. Recent instability in the economy makes us value and safeguard this steady source of income. It is one of the pillars of the independence of the College.
Second is to build a Graduate School of Statesmanship. Modeled on the school spoken of in letters between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, it will equip young men and women to become leaders in the defense of constitutionalism and freedom.
Third is to fund through operating gifts and endowment our Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. In 2008, the College purchased a building in the heart of our nation’s capital and dedicated the renovated building on September 17, 2010. The Kirby Center is the premier location for teaching the American Constitution in the nation’s capital. Select Hillsdale College students will work and study at the Center for a semester or a summer while they gain experience as interns. Also at the Center we make seminars, courses and lectures on the Constitution available to anyone of good mind and will who has the keenness to undertake them.
Amidst the confusion in our politics, the profligacy of public spending, and the danger of foreign enemies, we can find our way revitalizing the principles proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, and the institutions established in our Constitution. No task is more urgent than to recover our understanding of these documents and commit our efforts to their recovery. This is a task of education. This task has been central to the purpose of Hillsdale College for more than a century and a half.
In recent years, as in its founding years, Hillsdale College has enjoyed the friendship of Americans from every corner of the land. We reach now a turning point in the history of the College and of our country. Thanks to these friends, we approach this turning point in a condition of historic strength. We are profoundly grateful.
With warmest regards,
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