Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Wonderful and Unique Institution of Higher Learning

One evening last autumn I had the good fortune
and the rare privilege to attend a dinner held by
representatives of Hillsdale College of Hillsdale,
Michigan, a small private college that places an
emphasis on American history, especially on
the founding principles of our federal government
and the Constitution. Among those present on
behalf of this fine school was Hillsdale's President
Larry Arnn. The purpose of the dinner was to
acquaint parents and students with Hillsdale
as well as to encourage estate planning with
Hillsdale College in mind. One could certainly do
worse with one's money, both in life and afterwards.

About Hillsdale College: Founded in 1844, Hillsdale
is a four-year, independent, liberal arts college which
is also co-educational, non-sectarian, and resideential
--- and unabashedly conservative. Although offering
many and varied majors, Hillsdale is famous for its
courses in Politics and History, especially U.S. History.
And it teaches a fantastic course about the Constitution,
one that has aided many of their students in forming
arguments in support of this bedrock document of our
country, its laws, and its governance, as well as in
countering the arguments against same by liberals and
their allies on the political left. Many Hillsdale graduates
went on to run for office, as well as to become lawyers,
businessmen and businesswomen, military officers,
professional athletes, journalists, and college professors
--- many of whom teach the very courses which they
received instruction in. And Hillsdale has a student honor
code whose concluding statement proclaims: "Through
education the student rises to self-government." This means
that Hillsdale's students leave Hillsdale well-equipped to
play a role in our ongoing experiment in self-governance
which began when thirteen British colonies declared their
independence from the Crown. The students are informed
on the issues inside and out, they are familiar with the public
officials and the candidates for said offices vying for
election to same, and are knowledgeable on the Constitution
and its importance in our ongoing self-government;
no "low information voters" here! As a matter of fact,
ALL Hillsdale students, regardless of majors and minors,
are required to take a course on the Constitution in order to

And the thing that makes it possible for Hillsdale to provide
such a strong, conservative, principled education, is that
Hillsdale receives no federal money for any of their programs,
nor for anything pertaining to the school in any way, large
or small. Not on dime. Of course Washington has long
schmoozed Hillsdale to get the school to accept federal
money, if only to facilitate student loans and grants to
aid potential students in enrolling; Hillsdale always said,
and continues to say "Nothing doing!", for their officials
know that anything offered by Uncle Sam always has
strings, nay, chains attached! You take Uncle Sam's
money (or whatever else), you submit to his rules!
And those rules would impinge upon Hillsdale's ability
to offer its distinctively conservative curriculum, mandating
that they offer some left-wing courses, i.e. Feminist Studies
and the likes, taking up limited resources for courses created
and taught. Some trade-offs would then need to be made,
resulting in teaching less of Hillsdale's traditional bill of fare
and more leftist-flavored wares. An overwhelming majority
of colleges and universities across the country have such
curriculae because they themselves sup at the government
teat. Here is where Hillsdale is distinctly different.

Academic standards at Hillsdale are towering. Applicants
are required to have a high school GPA of at least 3.8,
an ACT score of at least 29, and an SAT score of at least
1933. And to stay at Hillsdale one has to be most dilligent
in one's studies so as to keep up and to keep on going.
But Hillsdale alums all proudly state that it's all worth it,
as many grads are quickly placed with an employer in their
field of study. Oh, by the way, the graduation rate at Hillsdale
is a robust 82%.

As for the dinner, I had the supreme pleasure of meeting and
conversing with Larry Arnn, a charming and gracious man
as well as a renown scholar, as well as with many fellow
conservatives, some from here in Milwaukee, some from
around Wisconsin, others from around the country. It was
a convention of conservative-minded Americans, united in
our esteem for Hillsdale College and our love for our great
country, our way of life, and the things which make it all
possible. And, of course, the things which help preserve it.
To your awed Peasant, it was heaven on Earth.

Would that there were more colleges and like schools for
our students to attend and receive a truly first-rate,
distinctly liberal (in the original meaning of the word!),
unflinchingly traditional education befitting of a citizenry
of a great and exceptional country!


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