Hillsdale College Commencement

May 14, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will deliver an address at the 164th Commencement exercises of Hillsdale College on Saturday, May 14, 2016.

The live stream will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.



The Honorable Clarence Thomas

U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Born in Pin Point, Georgia, Justice Thomas is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Yale Law School. Prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1991, he served as an assistant attorney general of Missouri, an attorney with the Monsanto Company, a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator John Danforth, assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education, chairman of the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 2007, he published My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir.

Larry P. Arnn

President, Hillsdale College

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He also studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 to 2000, he served as president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of three books, including, most recently, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

Nicholas Brown

2016 Senior Class President, Hillsdale College

Nicholas Brown is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He will graduate with degrees in politics and economics. During his time at Hillsdale, Nicholas was president of the Entrepreneurship Club and a founding member of both the Management Consulting Club and the 1844 Society. He volunteered with several student-run GOAL programs, such as the Hillsdale Buddy Program and the Renaissance School. Nicholas plans to pursue a career in entrepreneurship after college.

Academic Honors

Those wearing white stoles are honor students—graduating cum laude 3.4, magna cum laude 3.6, or summa cum laude 3.8 GPA. The valedictorian and salutatorian of the Class of 2016 wear gold honor stoles. Honor cords worn by graduates signify membership in discipline-based organizations or academic honorary societies.

Top Academic Honors


Sarah Onken


John Shannon

Benjamin Durrington, Grace Hertz, Kristin Malcolm, Ellen McNally, Matthew Moorman, Audrey Southgate, Sydney Sparks, Timothy Troutner

Honors Program Graduates

Jordan Finney, Taylor Flowers, Elizabeth Green, Grace Hertz, Carlyn Hubbard, Marlana Jackson, Ryan Jelalian, Christina Lambert, Josiah Lippincott, Micah Meadowcroft, Forester McClatchey, Sarah Onken, Emily Runge, Matthew Sauer, Aaron Schreck, Megan Scott, John Shannon, Daniel Slonim, Rebekah Basinger Slonim, Eleanor Smith, Audrey Southgate, Daniel Sunne, Timothy Troutner, Tomás Valle, Marie Wathen, Elisabeth Wynia

Choir singing

Alma Mater

Proudly we sing of college halls gracing a hilltop high
Proudly our tower and ivied walls point to an azure sky,
And may that spirit long remain, bringing distinction true,
Noble pride in our Hillsdale’s name endures ’neath the white and blue.

Here we for greater knowledge strive, here lasting friends acquire,
Here may we keep our dreams alive, as we to heights aspire,
Here may our youth a challenge meet, building our hopes anew,
Faith in life becomes complete ’neath banners of white and blue.

Words and melody by Bess Hagaman Tefft, Class of 1937
Harmonized by R. L. Bowers, former professor of music, Hillsdale College

Front of Central Hall

Hillsdale College Mission Statement

Hillsdale College is an independent, nonsectarian institution of higher learning founded in 1844 by men and women “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” resulting from civil and religious liberty and “believing that the diffusion of learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.” It pursues the stated object of the founders: “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary and scientific education” outstanding among American colleges “and to combine with this such moral and social instruction as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of its pupils.”

The College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.

By training the young in the liberal arts, Hillsdale College prepares students to become leaders worthy of that legacy. By encouraging the scholarship of its faculty, it contributes to the preservation of that legacy for future generations. By publicly defending that legacy, it enlists the aid of other friends of free civilization and thus secures the conditions of its own survival and independence.