Neha Patil (Editor)

Hillsdale College

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Type  Liberal arts college
Provost  David M. Whalen
President  Larry P. Arnn
Endowment  494 million USD (2015)
Colors  White, Blue
Established  December 4, 1844
Undergraduate tuition and fees  24,670 USD (2016)
Mascot  Chargers
Phone  +1 517-437-7341
Hillsdale College
Former names  Michigan Central College
Motto  Latin: Virtus Tentamine Gaudet
Motto in English  Strength Rejoices in the Challenge
Address  33 E College St, Hillsdale, MI 49242, USA
Notable alumni  Hans Zeiger, Howard Mudd, Phil Crane, Jared Veldheer, Chris Chocola
Similar  Saginaw Valley State Uni, Grand Valley State Uni, Northwood University, University of Findlay, Ohio Dominican University

The gold standard

Hillsdale College is a co-educational, non-profit liberal arts college in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States. Most of the curriculum is based on and centered on the teaching of the Western heritage as a product of both the Greco-Roman culture and the Judeo-Christian tradition. Hillsdale requires every student, regardless of major, to complete a core curriculum that includes courses on the Great Books and the U.S. Constitution. The college declines to accept federal financial support, instead providing private financial assistance to its students.


Hillsdale college freedom


In August 1844, members of the local community of Freewill Baptists resolved to organize their denomination's first collegiate institution. After gathering donations, they established Hillsdale College as Michigan Central College in Spring Arbor, Michigan on December 4, 1844. Although religiously affiliated, the college remained officially nonsectarian, stating that "no person shall be excluded from any privilege, immunity or situation in said college on account of his religious opinions." In the 19th century Hillsdale and Bates College in Maine were the only American colleges associated with this denomination. Hillsdale no longer has any denominational affiliation, and Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Oklahoma was founded after the college disaffiliated itself with the denomination. However, Hillsdale is still considered a Christian institution, with students expected to follow moral tenets of Christianity as commonly understood in the Christian tradition.

Under its first president, Daniel McBride Graham, who held the office from 1844 to 1848, Michigan Central College opened within a two-room store and admitted five students. In March 1845, the government of Michigan incorporated the college by an act of legislature, and the college enrolled 25 undergraduates by the end of its first year.

E.B. Fairfield assumed the presidency of Michigan Central College in 1848. In two years, on March 20, 1850, the Michigan state legislature granted the college a special charter, giving it the right to confer degrees. Independent from its outset, the college became one of the first in the United States to prohibit in its charter any discrimination on the basis of religion, race, or sex. Black students were admitted immediately after the college's 1844 founding, and the college became the second school in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women. In 1851 the college celebrated its first commencement and, one year later, graduated the first woman in Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts.

After outgrowing its Spring Arbor location, Michigan Central College moved to the city of Hillsdale, Michigan, closer to the railroad, and received considerable financial support from the local citizens. The cornerstone of the new building, Central Hall, was laid on the Fourth of July 1853. When Michigan Central College moved, it reopened as Hillsdale College on November 7, 1855, after receiving its new state charter the previous May. That fall the young institution opened with record enrollment. In 1856, it became the largest collegiate establishment in Michigan, a position it would hold for the majority of the 19th century.

During these early years, Fairfield and college professor Ransom Dunn contributed to its academic and institutional growth. Dunn, a professor and preacher at Hillsdale for half a century, rode 6,000 miles across the Midwestern plains and the Western frontier throughout the 1850s to raise money for construction of the new hilltop campus buildings.

Fairfield led Hillsdale from 1848 to 1869. During his presidency, he helped found the Republican Party with Dunn in neighboring Jackson, Michigan. A prominent leader in the newfound party, Fairfield was present at its first convention in 1858, where he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. Hillsdale's early anti-slavery reputation and pivotal role in founding the Republican Party led to the invitation of several notable speakers on the campus, including Frederick Douglass (who visited the school on two separate occasions) and Edward Everett, the orator preceding Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. On August 8, 1860, the first degrees were conferred at Hillsdale by the college. And on March 20, 1863 the state legislature of Michigan "formally legalized" the college's change of name and location.

19th century

Many Hillsdale students joined the ranks of the Union Army during the American Civil War in 1861 with a higher percentage of Hillsdale students enlisted than from any other Michigan college. In 1864, the Detroit Tribune published, "probably no college in the country is better represented in the Union than [Hillsdale]. It has sent its young men to the war by hundreds." Hillsdale remained in operation throughout wartime, albeit with limited enrollment, as the college sent over five hundred volunteers to the war. Half of Hillsdale's students became officers; five became lieutenant colonels, four received the Medal of Honor, and three became generals. Sixty students died in the war.

Hillsdale survived while nearly 80% of the colleges founded before the Civil War were forced to close. After the war, the college regained its normal enrollment; many veterans returned and completed their education there. Notable speakers continued to arrive at Hillsdale's campus, including the famed female physician and educator Sophia Jex-Blake in October 1865. Hillsdale's Delta Tau Delta chapter, its first fraternity, was chartered on October 19, 1867.

In 1869, James Calder succeeded Fairfield as president. Calder was the college's third president, serving from 1869 to 1871. During his three-year administration, the commercial school opened, a theological department was established, and the college enrolled around 750 students. He resigned to become president of the Pennsylvania State University.

Hillsdale's first president, Daniel McBride Graham, returned for a brief second term in 1871, notably rebuilding the campus after the catastrophic "Great Fire" of March 6, 1874. Soon afterwards DeWitt Clinton Durgin, a graduate of Union College, held the presidency from 1874 to 1884. In 1878 the Hillsdale Herald was first issued, becoming the oldest college newspaper in Michigan. Eventually this paper merged with another college paper, becoming The Collegian. During Durgin's presidency, Hillsdale's Kappa Kappa Gamma and Sigma Chi chapters were chartered.

After Dunn's brief turn as acting president, George F. Mosher served as president of Hillsdale from 1886 to 1901. Over this time the college grew in size and prestige. In 1884, Hillsdale's first congressman, Spencer O. Fisher, was elected. Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Tau Omega were chartered. In 1891, the Chicago Herald reported, "Hillsdale has a college second in standing to no denominational college in the country." Four years later, when the University of Chicago offered to affiliate with Hillsdale, the college rejected their proposal.

20th century

In 1900, the college ceased grazing livestock, and removed the agrarian fence which circled the campus. Thus began the college's era of institutional growth and professionalization which marked this time in the college's history. 1902, Joseph William Mauck became the sixth president of the college, the first Hillsdale graduate to return to work as the president of his alma mater. Beloved by the college community and an early and outspoken advocate for women's suffrage, Mauck served for two decades. During this time Hillsdale adopted its first honor code and held its first homecoming celebration. Significantly, the college amended its Articles of Association in 1907, no longer requiring the president and trustees be members of the Free Will Baptist denomination. This led to a decline in the prestige of the theological department, but concurrently an increase in the number of Christian denominations represented on campus. Also, in 1915, the college's chapter of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity was chartered. When World War I broke out, however, a large proportion of (mostly male) students entered military service. Indeed, by May 1918 all but twelve male upperclassmen had enlisted.

Four years after the war, William Gear Spencer succeeded Mauck as president. He served from 1922 to 1932, when he departed to lead Franklin College. Under Spencer's leadership, the college prospered. During this time Hillsdale acquired its 14-acre Slayton Arboretum, built new dormitories, constructed a new field house for its developing athletic programs, and, in 1924, chartered its chapter of Chi Omega.

During the Great Depression, Willfred Otto Mauck, son of Joseph William Mauck, governed the college as its eighth president from 1933 to 1942. Like his father Joseph, Wilfred had also graduated from Hillsdale. Throughout this era the college struggled financially, forced to cancel its new construction projects and cut the pay of its faculty and staff by nearly 20%. Succeeding Mauck, Harvey L. Turner became Hillsdale's ninth president, serving from 1942 to 1952. Despite the financial difficulties lasting from the Depression and World War II, the college worked past its setbacks under Turner's lead, building a new library, having an undefeated and untied football team in 1938, and celebrating its centennial in 1944, when over 1,000 alumni returned to campus for the commencement ceremony.

J. Donald Phillips next assumed the presidency, holding the position from 1952 to 1971. Throughout his nearly 20-year administration, Philips corrected many of Hillsdale's financial worries and constructed many new campus buildings. In these years, Hillsdale began to press against the growing bureaucratic regulations of the federal government, particularly concerning affirmative action. In 1962, the college's trustees adopted its own "Declaration of Independence". This document affirmed the college's stance against government control. Struggling against the dominant educational climate of time, the college worked to promote the traditional education of the liberal arts and classical education. Considering itself in line with the tradition and founding of the college, the college decided "to reaffirm its historic independence and to resist subsidization of its affairs by the federal government." This fight would continue for the next 20 years.

George Roche III became the 11th president of Hillsdale College in 1971, serving until his controversial resignation in 1999. During his presidency, the college dramatically increased its endowment, established the Center for Constructive Alternatives, and brought prominent national speakers to campus, including Ronald Reagan. It also began publishing Imprimis, Hillsdale's monthly speech digest. Russell Kirk taught at Hillsdale one semester a year throughout this time, beginning in 1973. During the Roche years, Hillsdale College became nationally known. When the federal government's Department of Health, Education, and Welfare attempted to force the college to count its students on account of their race for affirmative action student loan policies, the administration publicly refused. The college's trustees stated that Hillsdale would follow its own non-discrimination policy and that it would, "with the help of God, resist, by all legal means, any encroachments on its independence." In 1984, after a decade of federal litigation on the matter, the college withdrew from all federal student loans, replacing government assistance with private contributions.

On October 17, 1999, Lissa Jackson Roche, the daughter-in-law of Hillsdale President Roche, stated that she had engaged in a 19-year on-and-off sexual affair with her father-in-law, whereupon she went to the Slayton Arboretum and used a .38-caliber handgun obtained from Roche IV's gun cabinet to commit suicide in the gazebo there. Lissa was married to Roche's son and was employed by Hillsdale as the Managing Editor of Imprimis and Hillsdale College Press. President Roche denied the affair.

21st century

Larry P. Arnn currently serves as president of the college, a position he assumed in 2000. Under his tenure, the college completed various new buildings, including the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Center and Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center. The college also opened the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, an off-campus educational center in Washington, D.C.

In 2013 Arnn was criticized for his remarks about ethnic minorities when he testified before the Michigan State Legislature against the Common Core curriculum standards. Expressing concern about government interference with educational institutions, he recalled that shortly after he assumed the presidency at Hillsdale he received a letter from the state Department of Education that said his college "violated the standards for diversity", adding, "because we didn't have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant." After being criticized for calling minorities "dark ones", Arnn explained that he was referring to "dark faces", saying: "The State of Michigan sent a group of people down to my campus, with clipboards ... to look at the colors of people's faces and write down what they saw. We don’t keep records of that information. What were they looking for besides dark ones?" Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel condemned Arnn for his comments, which he called "offensive" and "inflammatory and bigoted", and asked for an apology. In response, the college issued a statement apologizing for Arnn's remark, while reiterating Arnn's concern about "state sponsored racism" in the form of affirmative action policies.


Hillsdale enrolls approximately 350 new students each year, with a current enrollment of around 1,450 students from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and eight foreign countries. The college employs 124 full-time faculty members. Hillsdale was ranked 69th in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report listing of best National Liberal Arts Colleges. It ranks 10th for "most conservative" students and 8th for "professors get high marks" in the Princeton Review's evaluation of The Best 378 Colleges 2014. Hillsdale also ranked 178th overall, including 34th in the Midwest and 134th in private colleges, in the 2014 Forbes report of America's Best Colleges. Undergraduate offerings include a variety of liberal arts majors, pre-professional programs, a teacher education program, and a journalism certificate program. Hillsdale College also manages Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school. A graduate program called the "Graduate School of Statesmanship" was inaugurated in 2012. Its focus is political philosophy and American politics; it awards PhD and MA degrees in Politics.


Hillsdale's 200-acre (81 ha) campus contains multiple instructional and office buildings, 13 residence halls, six fraternity and sorority houses, an athletic complex, music hall, arts center, conference center, hotel, and preschool. Hillsdale College also manages Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school.

Hillsdale College was chosen to receive the personal library of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises, following the wishes contained in von Mises's will; the collection of works is housed in the Ludwig von Mises room of the college's Mossey Library. Mossey Library also contains collections of the works of Russell Kirk and Richard Weaver, and is home to the college's Richardson Heritage room. Built in 1994, the Heritage room holds many first-edition books and rare volumes, as well as sculptures, paintings, and historical artifacts.

The college's Slayton Arboretum was officially created in 1922 when George A. Slayton and his wife donated 14 acres (5.7 ha) to the college. The arboretum was envisioned as an outdoor laboratory and field station for students and a biological garden for the community. Initial planting was with donated plants and the labor of Hillsdale students and volunteers. In 1939, Slayton Arboretum was listed as one of Michigan's Points of Interest, and up to 700 people a day visited the site.

A unique feature of the campus is the Statues of Liberty Walk, a walkway lined with depictions of well-known leaders and icons of Western culture. These include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher. A statue of Ronald Reagan was dedicated on October 7, 2011, in the centennial year of his birth. Reagan spoke at the college in 1977, stating, "Hillsdale deserves the appreciation of all who labor for freedom."


Hillsdale's charter prohibits any discrimination based on race, religion, or sex, and the College has been credited as the first American college to prohibit this type of discrimination in a charter. Notably, Hillsdale's football team refused to play in the 1956 Tangerine Bowl in Florida when the governing committee of the Bowl would not allow the team's black players to join the white players on the field; the committee then selected Juniata College instead.

In the early 1980s, two hundred Hillsdale students lost their federal student loans due to the college's opposition to affirmative action. The U.S. federal government had asserted that it could require colleges where students received such funding to submit Assurance of Compliance forms mandated by Title IX and Hillsdale refused compliance claiming that affirmative action was racial discrimination. This ongoing dispute with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) intensified in 1979 when the College filed a petition for judicial review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, asking the court to overturn a previous decision by the Reviewing Authority, Office of Civil Rights of HEW. In December 1982, the Sixth Circuit upheld Hillsdale's refusal to sign the compliance forms but also ruled that government aid to individual students could be terminated without a finding that a college actually discriminated.

In the related 1984 case, Grove City College v. Bell, the Supreme Court required every college or university to fulfil federal requirements—past and future requirements—if its students received federal aid. As a result of the court's decision, Hillsdale withdrew from all federal assistance beginning with the 1984–85 academic year; Grove City College, the defendant in that case, followed Hillsdale's lead four years later.

Beginning with the 2007–2008 academic year, Hillsdale also stopped accepting Michigan state assistance, instead matching any funds that a student would have received from the state with its own aid. Since 2007, Hillsdale's entire operating budget of the college, including scholarships, comes from private funding and endowments.

In 2010, a resolution of Hillsdale's Board of Trustees asserted that both Congress and the Obama administration appeared "even more than the worst of their predecessors, bent on extending federal control over American higher education and other areas of American life."

Center for Constructive Alternatives

Hillsdale brings speakers to campus through its Center for Constructive Alternatives program. Lectures are open to the public. Speakers have included Stephen Ambrose, Benazir Bhutto, Harry Browne, Russell Kirk, Harvey Mansfield, Charles Murray, Ralph Nader, P.J. O'Rourke, Phyllis Schlafly, and Juan Williams. Lectures and speeches from the series are published monthly in Imprimis, and distributed monthly for free. First published in 1972, Imprimis has a circulation of over two million subscribers.

Barney Charter School Initiative

The college's Barney Charter School Initiative was established to support the launch of K-12 charter schools based on a classical liberal arts model, with a strong civics component to "equip students to understand and defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."

Hillsdale-Oxford Scholars Program

Through an affiliation with Oxford's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Oxford Study Abroad Program, Hillsdale College offers a study abroad program at Oxford University where participants participate in classes and extracurricular as associate members of one of 39 different colleges in the University.

Allan P. Kirby Center

Hillsdale operates the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. The Kirby Center also provides assistance to Hillsdale students that are participating in Washington internships and co-sponsors the James Madison Fellows Program with the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. It engages with senior-level congressional staff members who the college describes as "dedicated to making first principles the foremost consideration in public policy formation". A monthly lecture series hosted by the center is the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series, which was started in 2008. The series has included lectures by David Horowitz, Brian Kennedy, John Bolton, and Hillsdale professor Paul A. Rahe. The Kirby Center also hosts an annual Constitution Day celebration and conducts online, interactive town halls on matters related to the Constitution.


The college has a number of sports teams that compete at the NCAA Division II level, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, softball, women's swimming, track and field, cross country, and women's volleyball. The college also has club teams and intramural sports that vary from year to year. The Chargers, as the Hillsdale athletics teams are known, compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Football coach Frank "Muddy" Waters was the head coach at Hillsdale from 1954–1973. The football stadium, Frank Waters Stadium, is named in his honor.

Greek life

North-American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities

  • Delta Tau Delta – Kappa Chapter, rechartered in 2004
  • Sigma Chi – Alpha Kappa Chapter, rechartered in 1980
  • Alpha Tau Omega – Beta Kappa Chapter, 1888
  • Delta Sigma Phi – Tau Chapter, 1915
  • National Panhellenic Conference Sororities

  • Kappa Kappa Gamma – Kappa Chapter, 1881
  • Pi Beta Phi – Michigan Alpha Chapter, 1887
  • Chi Omega – Rho Gamma Chapter, 1924
  • Alma mater

    Hillsdale's alma mater is "White and Blue". The words and melody were composed by Bess Hagaman Tefft, Class of 1937.

    Politics and law

  • Beth Walker (1987), Justice-elect of the West Virginia State Supreme Court of Appeals
  • Katherine Timpf (2010), journalist and comedian
  • Hans Zeiger (2007), author and representative for the 25th Legislative District of Washington
  • Aric Nesbitt (2001), member of Michigan House of Representatives, 66th district & House Majority Floor Leader
  • David Viviano (1994), justice on the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Chris Chocola (1984), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana's 2nd congressional district and former President of the Club for Growth
  • Solomon Robert Dresser (1865), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and founder and president of S.R. Dresser Manufacturing Co., now Dresser Industries
  • Thomas Morrison (1997), representative for the 54th District in the Illinois General Assembly
  • David L. Cornwell (1964), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana
  • Dan Crane (1958), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois's 22nd and 19th congressional districts
  • Phil Crane (1952), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois's 8th congressional district
  • Robert William Davis (1952), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 11th congressional district
  • E. Ross Adair (1929), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana
  • Verner Main (1907), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan
  • Henry M. Kimball (c. 1900), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 3rd congressional district
  • Walter H. North (1896), former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Chester Hardy Aldrich (1888), One-term Governor of Nebraska and former justice on the Nebraska Supreme Court
  • Joseph B. Moore (1879), former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Spencer G. Millard (1877), former Lieutenant Governor of California
  • Cyrus Cline (1876), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana
  • Albert J. Hopkins (1870), former senator from Illinois
  • Spencer O. Fisher (c. 1865), former member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 10th congressional district
  • Jasper Packard (c. 1853), newspaper editor and U.S. Representative from Indiana
  • Military and public service

  • Mary Hannah Fulton, medical missionary in China
  • Washington Gardner (1870), Civil War soldier and statesman
  • Moses A. Luce (1866), former lawyer and Medal of Honor recipient for service in the Civil War
  • Clinton B. Fisk (c. 1844), Civil War soldier and statesman, namesake of Fisk University and Prohibition Party candidate for president in 1888; first inductee into the Hillsdale County, Michigan Veteran's Hall of Fame in 2001
  • Erik Prince, former Navy SEAL and founder of Blackwater.
  • Professional sports and athletics

  • Andre Holmes (2011), wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders
  • Jared Veldheer (2010), NFL offensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals
  • Tom Heckert (1990), former general manager for the Cleveland Browns
  • Ron Tripp (c. 1975), expert in Sambo and Judo and current general secretary of USA Judo
  • Chester Marcol (1972), former placekicker for the Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers
  • Chuck Liebrock (1967), former offensive lineman in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Bruce McLenna (1966), former halfback for the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs
  • Bud Acton (c. 1964), former NBA player with the San Diego Rockets in the 1967–68 season
  • Howard Mudd (1963), offensive line coach for Philadelphia Eagles
  • Wayne Schurr (1959), former relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs during the 1964 season
  • Spanky McFarland (1976), college baseball coach at Northern Illinois and James Madison
  • Fred Knorr (1937), radio executive and former part-owner of the Detroit Tigers
  • Lynn Bell (1906), minor-league professional baseball player, college football coach
  • Academia and scholarship

  • Peter Leeson (2001), economist
  • Robert P. Murphy (1998), economist and author
  • Manuel Ayau (1973), Guatemalan-born politician, humanitarian, and founder of the "Universidad Francisco Marroquín"
  • Present faculty

  • Larry P. Arnn, educator and political scientist
  • Michael Bauman, theology
  • Burton Folsom, economic historian
  • Gary L. Wolfram, economist and public policy analyst
  • Visiting faculty and fellows

  • Victor Davis Hanson, classicist and war historian
  • D. G. Hart, religious and social historian
  • Mark Helprin, novelist and intelligence expert
  • Carl F.H. Henry, theologian
  • David McCullough, historian
  • Madsen Pirie, British researcher, author, and educator
  • Mark Steyn, journalist
  • Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Past faculty

  • Allan C. Carlson, historian
  • Ransom Dunn, dean and professor emeritus
  • Clark Durant, educator, Senate candidate, co-founder of Cornerstone Schools (Michigan) and Imprimis
  • Richard Ebeling, Austrian economist
  • Sir Martin Gilbert, official biographer of Winston Churchill and twentieth-century historian
  • Russell Kirk, conservative writer
  • Madsen Pirie, British researcher and former visitor in philosophy and logic
  • Frank "Muddy" Waters, College Football Hall of Fame inductee
  • References

    Hillsdale College Wikipedia