June 18, 2015


Dear Friends,

It was a day that dawned resplendent with the clarity and beauty that mark watershed events such as the 163rd Commencement ceremony at Hillsdale College. As members of the class arose that morning, the wonder of what was yet to come and realization of what had just passed, was perhaps their first notion of the swift running nature of the river of time. The Commencement ceremony took place in the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center, the only space large enough to hold the seating for an audience of up to 4,000 friends, family, and well-wishers. With some fine speeches delivered by Dr. Arnn, the President of the Senior Class Andrew Reuss, and the Commencement address by Professor Michael Ward of the University of Oxford, the conferring of degrees was a suitably solemn and yet joyous occasion. 

The Class of 2015 is comprised of 329 graduates. In addition, nine Graduate School of Statesmanship Master’s degree candidates received their diplomas, with some going on to pursue their Ph.D. in Politics at the graduate school and others entering the world of politics and teaching. It is interesting to learn with each class which are the most popular majors, and so here is the list for the Class of 2015. This list was compiled by Savannah Tibbetts, a 2015 graduate, with information shared through the Registrar’s office. Savannah is working in our office until she marries on July 18. She is a native of Arizona, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in economics and with a minor in math. Her aggregate grade-point average is 3.807 and she achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point in both her major and minor. After her wedding, Savannah and her groom Kadeem Noray, also a 2015 Hillsdale graduate, will move to Montana where they will study Applied Economics at Montana State University in Bozeman. She has been a true asset to accomplishing a myriad of tasks in our busy offices. That said, here is the overview. Keep in mind that the most populous majors shift from class to class, and that this is only for the Class of 2015:

  • History, 43 majors, 3.359 average GPA
  • English, 38 majors, 3.428 GPA
  • Economics, 32 majors, 3.301 GPA
  • Politics, 28 majors, 3.489 GPA
  • Marketing/Management, 25 majors, 3.090 GPA
  • Financial  Management, 21 majors, 3.089 GPA,
  • Biology, 21 majors, 3.407 GPA

The aim of this list is to provide an example of the kind of scholarship that is taking place on the Hillsdale campus. It is impressive that our students are able to keep their grades up when one considers the number of reading assignments, term papers, and exams. Along with the studying, Hillsdale College is a very social place with over 90 various student clubs and organizations. Beyond the fun and studies, there is work. To help to pay for their education, last fall 198 Hillsdale Tradition Award recipients logged over 22,615 hours in on-campus jobs during a 14-week period. This averages out to just over 114 hours per student and just over eight hours per week. Tradition Awards also contain a volunteer requirement. Students volunteer as tutors for local elementary and high school students, work with community sports programs, as well as at the local hospital, and with organizations like the Boy Scouts, the Humane Society, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The boundless energy of youth is channeled into worthwhile endeavors here at Hillsdale College that push boundaries and develop skills at the threshold of adulthood. The proof is in the successful lives of Hillsdale graduates and the difference they are making in the world of politics, education, and perhaps most importantly at the home front, as future happy husbands, wives, and parents.

Many individuals ask, “How can I make a difference?” One answer is by doing what you have already done and continue to do. Through the sharing of your precious resources of time, knowledge, and the fruits of your wise investments, you are a part of our students’ past and future successes. Through the courage of your convictions and commitment to America’s future, you are helping us to pave the way for these outstanding individuals and making a true difference in America. 

Graduating at the Top of Their Class

Speaking of outstanding, each year it is a joy to review the background of the top five graduating seniors. Their accomplishments are sometimes hard to conceive of, until one meets them and realizes that they are real people who are living examples of the lifelong benefits of obtaining a classical liberal arts education. As you review the snapshots of the top five graduates leading the pack of the Class of 2015, keep in mind that their classmates are not far behind them. This was a top-performing class and an indication of the good things to come with future year’s graduating classes.

Matthew O’Sullivan, Valedictorian, majored in philosophy and religion with a minor in German. While at Hillsdale, Matt belonged to the philosophy honorary society, as well as the religion honoraries. His volunteer and missionary work includes the Lochaven Renaissance School Project and three mission trips to the Ukraine. As an Eagle Scout, Matt worked at the Henson Scout Reservation. To help with the cost of his education, he served as a resident assistant (R.A.) in Simpson dormitory. Matthew received the Shirley Herrick Scholarship, the Eagle Scout Scholarship, the Elizabeth Schermerhorn Women Commissioners’ Scholarship, the Orlie B. Ansted Scholarship for Christian Service, the George and June Herpel Trust Scholarship, and the Robey Scholarship. He plans on attending the Reformed Theological Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Joshua Benjamins double majored in Latin and history. At Hillsdale, he was a member of the Honors Program, the Fairfield Society, the Delta Phi Alpha German honorary, as well as the classical studies, history, literature, and leadership honorary societies. Joshua has also volunteered as a Latin teacher at the Hillsdale Preparatory School and tutor at Hillsdale Academy and the College. While a student at Hillsdale, Joshua was a recipient of the Lorraine King Campbell Award for Classical Studies, the Richard Gilder Scholarship for History, the Corona Classica Award for Classical Studies, and the Curtis A. Seichter Endowed History Award, as well as a Theodore Bedrick Travel Scholarship and an Outstanding Student Award from the American Philological Association. He has also received the Wilbur T. McKinney Scholarship and the Robey Scholarship. He has accepted a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, where he will pursue an M.A. in Early Christian Studies beginning this fall.  

Bailey Lindner, Salutatorian, majored in accounting with a minor in French. Her future plans include a career as a public accountant. At Hillsdale, she played on the Charger volleyball team and belonged to the Accounting Club and the French and accounting honorary societies. She previously received a Lamplighters Outstanding Sophomore Award. While a student at Hillsdale, Bailey received the John and Jo Babbitt Scholarship, the Elmer D. and Irmgard Warnes Economics Scholarship, the Edgar and Anna Yale Scholarship, and the Theodore and Elizabeth Smyth Scholarship. 

Matthew Drogowski majored in biochemistry with a minor in psychology. He will be attending medical school at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan. While at Hillsdale, he belonged to the Catholic Society, the psychology, science, and mathematics honoraries. He also held offices in the biology honorary, the Pre-Professional Society, and the American Chemical Society. He volunteered at a free health clinic and the local hospital. Matthew was the recipient of the Lillian and Thomas Mastin Foundation Scholarship, the Margaret Thatcher Scholarship, the Robert L. and Isabel M. Martin Scholarship, and The President’s Club Scholarship.  Last summer, he was awarded funding through the Hillsdale College LAUREATES Program to conduct research in biochemistry. To cover his educational expenses, he worked as both a teaching assistant and a tutor for the chemistry department.  

Edward (Garrett) West graduated with a 3.97 grade-point average and majored in philosophy with a minor in accounting. Next fall, he will continue his studies at Yale Law School. While at Hillsdale, Garrett’s volunteer work included preparing income taxes for low-income individuals. He belonged to the accounting honorary and was vice president of the philosophy honorary. He also worked in the student union, wrote for the campus newspaper, and spent two years as a resident assistant. Garrett was the recipient of the Cunard Endowed Scholarship, the Robert Baird Memorial Endowed Scholarship, the Hugh and Barbara Havercamp Scholarship, and the Wilbur T. McKinney Scholarship.

In addition to this impressive list of accomplished individuals, it is heartening to know that several Class of 2015 graduates have hit the ground running and are already employed or engaging in internships. The following is a partial listing of graduates and where they will be employed or interning this summer:

  • Virginia Adamson, Collegiate Network Fellow, USA Today.
  • Tessa Betz, Educational Programs at the Charles Koch Institute.
  • Nathan Brand, internship with the Republican Study Committee.
  • Jack Butler will work with journalist Jonah Goldberg at the American Enterprise Institute and National Review.
  • Brianna Hearn, office of Florida Congressman Bill Posey (R). 
  • Aubrey Neal, office of Georgia Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R).
  • Andrew Reuss, office of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R).  
  • Philip Wegmann, The Federalist Radio Hour. 

The Summer Plans of Ambitious Hillsdale Students

Back in the day, youthful summers were spent in activities such as fishing, lazing in the sun, and going to the soda shop, and perhaps mowing a lawn or two or delivering papers for Friday night spending money. By contrast, in today’s fast-paced world summer is an opportunity for Hillsdale students to shift into high gear and explore career areas such as politics, journalism, and philanthropy. To help these students stay afloat over the summer, the Office of Career Planning and Development offers stipends of $250 to $1,000 to Hillsdale interns. In addition to this program, the Kirby Center assists Hillsdale students in securing summer internships in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. The Kirby Center staff also organizes special events and programming for students living in D.C. The following list is a brief overview of Hillsdale students’ internships as they gain experience essential to building the background for their future careers:

  • Salem Baer,’16, will intern with the Koch Internship Program/Red Edge.
  • Mikayla Brown, ’16, will intern at the Partnership for Public Service.
  • Conner Dwinell, ’17, will intern in the office of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (R).
  • Amanda Hatch, ’16, will intern at the National Archives Boeing Learning Center.
  • Randy Keefe, ’16, will intern at the Council for National Policy.
  • Eric LaRose, ’16, will intern in the office of Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg (R).
  • Naofa Noll, ’16, will intern with the International Justice Mission.
  • Meghan Pradko, ’16, will intern with the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Kaitlin Wallis, ’16, will intern with the office of Idaho Senator Jim Risch (R).

The following internships have been arranged in conjunction with the National Journalism Center:

  • Philip DeVoe, ’17, will intern with The Daily Caller.
  • Hannah Leitner,’16, will intern with The American Spectator.
  • Michael Lucchese, ’18, will intern with Breitbart News.
  • Breana Noble, ’18, will intern with Christopher Ruddy’s news organization Newsmax.
  • Thomas Novelly, ’17, will intern with The Washington Free Beacon.

Should you know of a potential summer internship, please contact Courtney Noonan in the Career Services Office at (517) 607-2457 or e-mail cnoonan@hillsdale.edu. For internship ideas or contacts that are in the Washington, D.C., area, please contact Sophia Carr at the Kirby Center by e-mail at scarr@hillsdale.edu or phone (202) 600-7314. 

Raising the Roofs and Securing the Mortar

Like an internal combustion engine, the staff of Institutional Advancement work diligently to help secure the funds that will assist in driving forward the College’s future. To be sure, the future of an institution such as Hillsdale College is based upon many factors, including meeting financial, academic, personnel, and management goals, with the pace set by the College’s President Larry Arnn and the guidance of the Hillsdale College Board of Trustees. All of these individuals must work in tandem like a well-oiled machine. It is important to never lose sight that this good work is an outgrowth of the foundation we have built across the country of friends such as you who are all standing beside us as we lay the groundwork for future generations of Hillsdale students. 

I am happy to report that the future is bright here at Hillsdale College as the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign soldiers on leaving a swath of capital improvements, endowments, and scholarships in its path. The following is an overview of some of the new and ongoing fundraising projects at Hillsdale College:

  • The Amon G. Carter Foundation of Ft. Worth, Texas, has issued a $1-for-$1 challenge grant for undergraduate scholarships for Texas students attending Hillsdale College. The Foundation grant provides $200,000 for one full-tuition “Amon G. Carter Scholarship” and two half-tuition “Texas Scholarships” for four years, supporting three students during their course of study from 2014-2015 through 2017-2018. The College will raise $200,000 in cash and binding pledges by June 30, 2015, for an additional four half-tuition Texas scholarships. To qualify for the challenge, gifts made payable to Hillsdale College must be designated to the Amon G. Carter Foundation Scholarship Program, and all pledges must be paid in full by June 30, 2017.
  • As part of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign, a foundation that wishes to remain anonymous issued a grant of $500,000 on April 8, 2015, which is to be used as a $1‐for $1 challenge for the endowment of the Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI). Hillsdale College must raise $500,000 for the BCSI endowment by June 30, 2016. To qualify for the challenge, gifts must be designated to the Barney Charter School Initiative endowment fund.
  • The Churchill Endowment has a goal of $9 million. Gifts raised will go toward the official biography of Sir Winston S. Churchill; Churchill conferences; Churchill scholarships; and an endowed faculty chair in honor of the statesman. Also included in the endowment will be online courses focused upon Churchill and marketing of the various vehicles for Churchill scholars. 
  • The Hillsdale College Chapel will serve as a place for all Christians to gather for prayer, reflection, and academic and religious services. It will also provide a venue for orchestra and choir concerts and campus gatherings such as convocation. As part of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign, friends of the College have issued a challenge for the construction of the Hillsdale College Chapel. This Chapel Challenge leadership gift of $12,500,000 will provide $10,750,000 for construction costs and $1,750,000 for an endowment to operate and maintain the building. Hillsdale College must raise $17,500,000 in cash and pledges by June 30, 2017, and all pledges must be paid in full by December 31, 2018. To qualify for the challenge, gifts must be designated to the chapel construction fund. 

For those of you planning on attending CCA I on the topic of Winston S. Churchill in early October, you will be some of the first to be welcomed to the newly expanded and renovated dining facilities in the Searle Center. This is just the beginning, as the second phase of construction will expand and renovate the auditorium that has been the familiar site of CCA lectures and used for other large meetings. The main- and entry-level addition to the auditorium will add over 3,500 square feet and increase seating from 300 to 700. Renovations to the existing interior include a private viewing area, balcony addition, study room, and offices. The total cost of this project will be approximately $4.3 million. The Seats of Honor Campaign is now under way to help raise funding for the new auditorium. A gift or pledge of $5,000 provides a naming opportunity for the auditorium seats on a first-come, first-served basis. Please refer to the Seat of Honor flyer for further details. For information on any of these projects, contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail jcervini@hillsdale.edu.

Shooting Stars

The John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center, located five miles from campus, is the hub of activity for those who wish to learn to shoot or hone existing firearms skills.  Programs such as the Ladies for Liberty Seminar and Shooting Camps teach skills to women interested in the art of self-defense as well as rifle, pistol, trap, and skeet shooting.  Meanwhile, The Liberty and Learning Youth Conference on the Second Amendment and the Constitution took place June 7-10 and was attended by high school students ages 15-18.  The students attended lectures by Hillsdale College professors on the Constitution and other core topics and then they headed to the range for some all-American fun in the form of trap and skeet shooting.  By popular demand, there is also an inaugural couples program that will be held September 13-17, 2015.  The cost of this program is $2,785 per couple, which is all-inclusive of meals, evening receptions, lodging, transfers, and most importantly—ammunition, use of firearms, and unlimited targets.  The schedule is similar to the Ladies for Liberty program with plenty of range time and lectures by Hillsdale professors; however there is the additional bonus of a day of pheasant hunting in the Hillsdale countryside.  For further information or to register, please contact either Bart Spieth at bspieth@hillsdale.edu or phone (517) 610-5593. You may also contact Kim Gehrke at kgehrke@hillsdale.edu or phone (517) 607-2569. 

On the collegiate shooting front, the College’s shotgun team continues to earn accolades and awards in competitive shooting. With several top shooters having graduated in May of 2014, there were concerns about how the team would fare as we bid farewell to the graduating marksmen. As fate or recruiting would have it, three new shooters joined Hillsdale’s collegiate shotgun team for the 2014-2015 academic year. Freshman Drew Lieske is a master class sporting clays shooter, and fellow freshman Emanuel Boyer is an All-American in trap shooting and participant in one of the past Liberty and Learning Youth Conferences. Being that Hillsdale College is one of the few schools with an International/Olympic bunker trap field may help to explain the transfer of Olympic Gold medalist in bunker trap Clay Maniot from Lindenwood University, who now competes on the Hillsdale shotgun team. For the third time in four years, the Hillsdale College Shotgun Team has earned a first place finish in Division III of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Collegiate Clay Target Championship. They are bringing home the trophies, and you may see them on display at the AcuSport Lodge, the central gathering place at the Halter Shooting Sports Education Center. 

Though the range has enjoyed swift and yet carefully planned growth of the shooting facilities over the past several years, there is still more to be done. The current range facilities consist of: four American trap ranges, a skeet field for both American and International skeet, a five-stand sporting clays field, International/Olympic bunker trap field, outdoor archery range (under construction), and the AcuSport Lodge and classroom building. Remaining on the drawing boards are the rifle and pistol range, the indoor air rifle and archery range, and a 13-station sporting clays course. Construction on the sporting clays course will begin this summer.

There are opportunities approaching for you to enjoy the Halter Shooting Sports Education Center firsthand. The first such occasion will be the “Fall Shoot” on Saturday, September 12, 2015. We will start the day with lectures on the Constitution and safety instruction and then move to the shooting sports education facility for a barbecue lunch and an afternoon of trap, skeet, and sporting clay shooting. For an invitation or further information, please contact Kim Gehrke at (517) 607-2569 or e-mail kgehrke@hillsdale.edu. We hope to see you soon at Hillsdale’s home on the range!

The Next Academic Year Is Just around the Corner

There’s an exciting year ahead in the realm of Hillsdale events. Please take a moment to review the updated events schedule, which lists everything from Hillsdale receptions to CCA seminars to the National Leadership Seminars (NLS). The CCA seminar topics this year will focus on “Winston Churchill” (October 4-7, 2015); “Money: History and Controversies” (November 8-11, 2015);

“The Art of Biography” (January 31-February 3, 2016); and “Silent Films” (March 6-10, 2016). The NLS program in Indian Wells, California, will take place February 10-11, 2016, and the NLS scheduled for April 18 -19, 2016, will be held in New York, New York. Both NLS seminars will focus on the topic of “Political Issues and Controversies.” Topic statements for both the CCA and NLS programs are enclosed for your review.

The Free Market Forum will take place in Omaha, Nebraska, October 15-17, 2015, and feature speakers such as economists and authors George Gilder and Art Laffer. A copy of the schedule for this program is enclosed. Please refer to the back of the enclosed event schedule for a complete list of contacts for each category of Hillsdale events. 

Please note that there are a few cabins remaining on the next Hillsdale College cruise, which will set sail from Lisbon to London via France, July 12-July 24, aboard the all-inclusive Crystal Serenity. The itinerary includes a visit to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy led by Hillsdale Professor of History Tom Conner, as well as side trips to Mont Saint-Michel and Bordeaux. The post-cruise tour in London will include a tour of the House of Parliament, a visit to the ancestral home of Winston Churchill, and a tour of Oxford University. Please phone (877) 242-6397 or e-mail info@hillsdalecollegecruise.com.

If you were unable to attend some of the events of the past year, it is time to catch up on some of outstanding speeches. To help you to do so, enclosed you will find a CD of the speech delivered at this year’s Florida NLS by financier Larry Kudlow. The other CD, entitled “Why Conservatives Dominate Talk Radio,” is by journalist Hugh Hewitt who spoke during the journalism-focused CCA seminar this past January. Also, to watch this year’s Commencement address by Michael Ward, visit http://www.hillsdale.edu/events/2015-graduation

The Meaning of Beginnings

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Sir Winston’s Churchill’s words ring as true today as when spoken during the Second World War. The literal meaning of commencement is the beginning or start of something. The 163rd Commencement ceremonies at Hillsdale College marked the first of many beginnings for Hillsdale graduates. Yet to come is a first “real” job; marriage; first child; first owned home, and many other glad events that mark the commencement of yet another life phase. It is an exciting yet uncertain time for these young people. They enter the adult world shorn up by the natural confidence born of faith and the knowledge imparted by a classical liberal arts education—an education unlike any other that is offered today. In fact, a Hillsdale education is based on the type of curriculum that was the basis of learning for many of history’s great leaders. Their classical education guided them in making critical decisions. It still stands true that by knowing what came before it is easier to predict what is to come—from the next move of an enemy to the rise and fall of nations. Our hope is that the young people graduating from Hillsdale College will utilize their classical understanding of the world around them to lead wisely, decide rationally, and live well. They are our hope for a return to sanity in America. It is as simple and as complicated as that. 

I wish you a summer marked with get-togethers with family and friends and, most of all, the time and good health in which to enjoy the blessings of being. Godspeed wherever your travels take you, and until we meet again, know that you are in our thoughts and hearts often.




Kathleen Ruddy, ’82
Director of Associates and Special Projects