Ransom Dunn Scholarship: Kate Swope

Written by Elena Naborowski

Senior Kate Swope says she fell in love with Hillsdale when her older sister, Nancy, attended the College and had an extraordinary experience. Kate enjoyed a rich freshman year at Hillsdale, full of learning and relationship-building, but she could not afford to come back for her sophomore year. “It was really hard,” she says.
Ever motivated, Kate dedicated the next year to working and saving money so she could re-enroll at Hillsdale. She felt called to work in the Hillsdale area, so for the next six months, she served in Hillsdale as a nanny and as a barista at Rough Draft, a local coffee shop.

Kate recalls a particularly influential conversation at Rough Draft with Dr. Joe Garnjobst, chairman and professor of classics at Hillsdale College. “Dr. Garnjobst pulled up a chair to the barista bar and talked with me for two hours about liberal education and what it would mean for me to come back to college,” she recalls. They also spoke at length about potential majors and the importance of mindset as she prepared to come back. “It was the most encouraging, uplifting conversation,” Kate says, “and it solidified in my mind how important a Hillsdale education would be for me.”

After a year-and-a-half of saving, Kate finally had enough money to pay for one semester at Hillsdale. “I believed that either God would give me that semester for closure, or God would open a door and provide a way for me to continue and graduate from Hillsdale,” she recalls. “It was my dream to come back to Hillsdale, but ultimately, I wanted to go where I would glorify God the most.”

That semester, she thrived as she worked three jobs and made the deans’ list. She also interned for the Admissions Office the following summer. Although Kate could not afford another semester, she continued to communicate with the Financial Aid Office. Suddenly, she received several substantial scholarships, including the Ransom Dunn Scholarship, specifically designated for students who otherwise could not continue their Hillsdale education.

Kate will graduate next spring with a major in political economy and a minor in rhetoric and public address. She is grateful for the support that will allow her to graduate from Hillsdale. “I am humbled at the chance to be here, and I see every day as a gift.”

Read more from November’s newsletter:

Double Bondsmen: Chasing Dreams and Finding Reality

Fostering the Good Scholarship


Elena NaborowskiElena Naborowski, ’24, is a Junior majoring in English with a minor in General Business. She is involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma, Hillsdale Felines and Friends, and hopes to one day work in marketing.


Published in October 2020