Hillsdale College’s Kathleen O’Toole Gives Commencement Address at Founders Classical Academy of Leander
Address focuses on the purpose of education, civilization
Hillsdale, Mich. — On June 5, 2020, Kathleen O’Toole, assistant provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale
College, delivered the commencement address at Founders Classical Academy of Leander in Leander, Texas.
Before joining Hillsdale College, O’Toole served as the founding headmaster of the school.
“Order and liberty are not permanent, and civilization rests on the virtue of American citizens,” said O’Toole in
her address. “You have studied the moral and intellectual virtues, and learned that virtue at its peak involves
civic virtue. As you go forward, draw on the education you have received, and defend civilization itself.”
O’Toole delivered her address in an outdoor ceremony consisting of the Class of 2020 and their immediate
families. Due to social distancing restrictions, the event was closed to the public but available via livestream.
The Class of 2020 included 34 students, who graduated with a collective average SAT score of 1237 and ACT
score of 26. Graduates will be pursuing degrees in the liberal arts, computer science, technology, and
engineering, with some taking a gap year to do missionary work. This was the school’s fourth commencement
“As the first employee of this school, Dr. O’Toole helped build its academic program and culture from the
ground up,” said Mr. Doug Sowers, headmaster at Founders Classical Academy of Leander. “It was fitting that
she address the graduating seniors during these unprecedented times.”
Dr. Kathleen O’Toole is assistant provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale College. O’Toole attended the
University of Dallas, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts in politics. She studied American politics and
political philosophy at Claremont Graduate University, where she was an editor for the Claremont Review of
Books. In addition, she was awarded a Publius Fellowship from the Claremont Institute. Currently, Dr. O’Toole
serves on the boards of the Classic Learning Test and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts
and Ideas at the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, Daniel, live in Hillsdale.