Hillsdale College is unique. First, there is its long history. It was founded in 1844, just 18 years after the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. It is a fine thing for a college to have survived over 160 years. But Hillsdale College has done more than that. It has flourished. And at critical times in the nation’s history, it has risen to do extraordinary service—most notably in the period surrounding the Civil War and then again in recent decades.
Second, there is its founding mission. As set out in its original Articles of Association, that mission is to provide “sound learning” in a way to perpetuate the blessings of “civil and religious liberty” and “intelligent piety.” Hillsdale College has remained true to this mission, even while other colleges and universities have changed with the wind. This is reflected in its undiminished devotion to the liberal arts, its broad and deep core curriculum, its outstanding teaching faculty and the caliber of its students.
Third, it is one of only a handful of colleges that operates solely on private sector support. Hillsdale College refuses to accept one penny of federal taxpayer subsidies, even in the form of federal student grants and loans. It takes this stand for two reasons. One is to avoid the regulations that come attached with federal subsidies. More fundamentally, it believes that federal involvement in higher education violates the principle of limited government and corrupts the very idea of liberal learning.
Finally, it is strong. It is determined. It knows where it has been and where it is going. That is why Hillsdale’s Board of Trustees and administration have carefully planned and are conducting a capital and endowment campaign: The Founders Campaign, one of the largest ever for a college this size, in an effort to raise $608 million in private funding for capital projects and endowments for scholarships, faculty chairs and Imprimis. It serves both to ensure the College’s future and to increase its reach and influence.
Our motto here at Hillsdale College is “Pursuing Truth and Defending Liberty since 1844.” It sums up our mission. I invite you to become our partner in this mission and support our Founders Campaign by joining The President’s Club.
Larry P. Arnn
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