October 7, 2014

Dear Friends:

The sun is shining brightly and the weather remarkably warm as we begin the busy month of October.  I write today to bring you up to speed on the latest Hillsdale happenings, and the ongoing progress that is afoot to make the good, better and the best, excellent.  This reminds me of a question that Dr. Arnn poses to test the mettle of incoming students, which is: “What is the Good?”  This may appear to be a simple question to the uninitiated; however, in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the beginning of the definition reads as follows:

Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason THE GOOD has rightly been declared to be THAT at which ALL things aim.”  The logic follows that the study of Politics is essential since “it legislates as to what we are to do and what we are to abstain from, the end of this science must include those of the others, so that this end must be the good for man.  For even if the end is the same for a single man and for a state, that of the state seems at all events something greater and more complete whether to attain or to preserve; though it is worthwhile to attain the end merely for one man, it is finer and more godlike to attain it for a nation or for city-states.  These, then, are the ends at which our inquiry aims, since it is political science, in one sense of that term.”

From the vantage point of the Hillsdale College community, I can tell you that the “good” is alive and well here on campus.  Students are pursuing studies that ultimately lead to the happiness that comes from living a life based upon time-tested truths, integrity, and the character to persist and triumph over life’s challenges.  As a friend of Hillsdale and its students, you are a part of this ever-widening circle of “the good, the true, and the beautiful.”

Welcome to the Class of 2018!

As we ready for Homecoming this weekend, graduates from across the decades will be returning to their Alma Mater to reminisce and make new memories with old friends.  It is a different time and a different place than when I entered as a Hillsdale College freshman some 30 years ago.  The incoming students seem to sparkle like uncut diamonds of potential, and seem better prepared for the academic challenges that await them here at Hillsdale College.  Given the impressive profile of this year’s freshman class, it is clear that the difference is not imagined, but real.  Today’s freshman faces a much more competitive and varied job market than in the past several decades.  Challenged by the constant flux of technology, an uncertain economy, and ever-encroaching government regulation of individual liberties, the ability to think critically, read, and defend oneself in writing and speaking is more important than ever.

The following Class of 2018 overview will reveal the freshman students’ qualifications to meet the challenges that lie ahead:

  • Thirty-eight percent of entering students have attended private or parochial schools, while 11 percent are homeschooled, and eight percent are transfer students.
  • The entering class carried an average 3.81 high school grade-point and averaged 29 on the ACT test and 1933 on the SAT.
  • Two-thirds of the freshman students are from states other than Michigan.
  • The Class of 2018 represents 38 states and nine foreign countries.  Countries represented by the overall student body include Kenya, Ukraine, Korea, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, and India. Please refer to the geographical overview (pdf enclosed with this email) for the number of students from your home state.
  • The entering class is made up of 385 incoming students consisting of 195 men and 190 women.  The total overall count of full-time enrolled students is 1,474.
  • The acceptance rate for this year’s entering class was 55 percent from a pool of 1,874 applicants.  Of that accepted group, 38 percent enrolled at Hillsdale College this fall.

It bears repeating that the best tool for evaluations by prospective students is the campus visit.  When school is in session, prospective student visits are under the stewardship of an Admissions representative and student ambassador and include class auditing, meals with other students in the cafeteria, and overnights in a dormitory—in other words, a real taste of what it is like to attend Hillsdale College.  Other alternatives for introducing promising students to Hillsdale College include attending a “visit day” on campus or an off-campus Admissions reception.  The Admissions receptions for the year ahead are listed at hillsdale.edu/admissions/visit and will include an opportunity to meet a Hillsdale Admissions representative and others closely connected with Hillsdale.  Some of the planned Admissions reception locations include Cincinnati, Scottsdale, Seattle, Los Angeles (Orange County), and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

You may send information on prospective students, such as name, address, and year of high school graduation to the Admissions Office by contacting mbraman@hillsdale.edu, by postal mail to the attention of Associate Vice President of Admissions Doug Banbury at the Hillsdale College address, or phone the Admissions Office directly at (517) 607-2227.  It is important to guide the best and brightest students to Hillsdale College, and we appreciate your help in doing so.

The Changing Face of the Hillsdale College Campus

Many are under the impression that the Hillsdale campus is a quiet, tranquil spot during the summer, with the students and faculty enjoying their summer pastimes while taking a break from the rigorous academic life.  For some this may be true, but for the staff of Hillsdale College, work continues on unabated as preparations for the next academic year begin nearly simultaneously as the past academic year ends.  As the ever-widening circle of friends who meet College staff and volunteers at Hillsdale events or communicate online increases substantially, so does the level of response required to meet up with the demand for Hillsdale connections.  These friends—some new and some familiar—also visit us on campus to see for themselves that Hillsdale College is more than a virtual reality and is in fact a real place.

Rest assured that the College is manifesting its success in a very real sense with more than 70 capital projects started—and most of them finished—this summer.  For instance, the interior of the Simpson men’s residence received a much-needed complete renovation and will benefit from an exterior facelift and new pitched roof next summer.  The plans are to do likewise with McIntyre and Mauck women’s residences, as well as Galloway men’s residence.

Meanwhile, Phase One of the Searle Center’s construction began, which includes dining room and lobby expansions.  In August, Curtiss Dining Hall was demolished, and an 850-seat capacity dining hall is in the process of being constructed along with a new kitchen and restrooms.  Escalators will move guests to and from the revamped street entrance.  Similar plans are afoot for the dining hall’s closest neighbor, Phillips Auditorium, which will double in size to a capacity upwards of 800 seats, and include expanded balcony seating, improved ventilation, heating, and cooling, along with enhanced acoustics.  We are in the process of raising money for the auditorium renovation and expansion.  The funds will go toward accommodating a growing audience of enthusiastic friends who wish to join in the College’s mission.

In addition to the Searle Center construction and dormitory revamp, Phase Two of the George Roche Sports Complex was well under way by the spring term’s end, with a new arena featuring 2,200 bleacher seats.  New coaches’ offices were constructed as well as team locker rooms for three varsity sports, a climbing wall, a fitness studio, and a classroom, to name a few of the improvements.

Meanwhile, five miles from campus at the Halter Shooting Sports Education Center an archery field was added as well as an Olympic bunker trap facility.  These additions—along with the AcuSport Lodge and classroom facility, American trap and sporting clay fields, and skeet fields—make the Hillsdale College shooting facilities in the top tier of collegiate shooting facilities.  Back on campus the transition of moving the tennis courts from their current location on the lower field of the sports complex to a location near Biermann Athletic Center is still a work in progress.  This move will make room for the long-awaited indoor turf building, which will be used for football practice and intramural sports, and constructed once the funds are raised.  I could go on, including describing how offices for new faculty were created on the third floor of the Kendall classroom building; however, I’m sure you get the picture.  In summary, real change for the better is in progress on the Hillsdale campus, and we are thankful for the generosity of friends such as you who continue to help make these worthwhile improvements a reality. 

You Could Become One of Our New Neighbors!

Many friends of Hillsdale College travel long distances to attend the College’s on-campus events or visit with faculty members and scholarship recipients.  The map on the following link displays the number of Imprimis readers in each state will give you an idea of the broad network of Hillsdale friends across the country.  Some of these dedicated individuals have expressed an interest in purchasing property adjacent to campus to increase the quantity and quality of time spent on campus.  To answer these inquiries, the Hillsdale Town Homes project began its life on an architect’s drawing board earlier this year.  The current plan is to build townhouses on the fringes of campus that architecturally complement the central campus and provide more living space for campus visitors to use in the summer or to live in year round.  The town homes would also provide expanded campus housing for upperclassmen and women enrolled at the College.  The plans revealed during the first CCA of the year show a series of three-story town homes, graced with the architectural style that blends in with the College’s existing buildings.

Also, the College is planning a project of higher end, single family homes that will bring our friends closer to the front door of Central Hall.  For further information and the various floor plans currently under consideration, please contact Sheila Butler in Rich Péwé’s office at (517) 607-2218 or e-mail sbutler@hillsdale.edu.

Hillsdale College Online Expands Once Again

With a goal to eventually offer the entire Hillsdale College curriculum online, progress continues apace with the release of two more new online courses this fall.  Released on September 29, “The Presidency and the Constitution” examines how the balance of executive power engineered by the Founders is breaking down in the face of modern interpretations of the Constitution.  This course is taught by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and other esteemed Politics faculty such as R.J. Pestritto, Tom West, Kevin Portteus, John Grant, and Mickey Craig.

Slated for release in mid-October is “Great Books 102:  Renaissance to Modern.”  In this eleven-week course, select works by authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Goethe, Dostoevsky, and Mark Twain, to name a few, are examined by Hillsdale English professors.  This course is a follow-up to its companion course, “Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval.”

These two new courses will bring the count to a total of eight courses available at online.hillsdale.edu by the end of this month.  To date over 612,000 individuals have registered for Hillsdale’s online courses, and since many of them have enrolled in more than one course, the total number of course registrations is over 900,000 and climbing.  Each course is a powerful tool for learning, with 10 to 11 weeks of lectures covering foundational elements of an education such as the Constitution, Western Heritage, American Heritage, Great Books 101 and 102, and free market economics.

Other outlets for Hillsdale online learning are found in the weekly series “Hillsdale Dialogues:  A Survey of Great Books, Great Men, and Great Ideas,” featuring Larry Arnn and members of the College faculty, and moderated by radio host Hugh Hewitt.  The archive of these discussions may be found at online.hillsdale.edu/hillsdaledialogues.

The Kirby Center in Washington, D.C., provides the venue and audiences for the AWC Family Lecture Series in which topics of the day are discussed from a constitutional perspective.  These lectures are open to the public and also available online.  Also archived online are videos of speeches delivered by congressmen like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio.  You may view all such speeches delivered at the Kirby Center via the website, kirbycenter.hillsdale.edu/events, and then follow the video or past event archive links.

Another source for Hillsdale College videos is located at youtube.com/user/hillsdalecollege.  The videos stored at this site include the latest video celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dow Center, which was shown during the last CCA at the Dow Center’s golden anniversary celebration.  The title of the video is “Legacy of Liberty,” which showcases the astounding variety of individuals—such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher—who have ventured to this small town in the cornfields of Michigan because of Hillsdale College’s role as a citadel of education at the forefront of liberty.

The Price of Excellence

While speaking with prospective students or anyone else who is curious about the cost of a Hillsdale College education admissions, I frequently state that Hillsdale College is a “bargain” in today’s educational market.  The net or actual cost of a Hillsdale education is just over $65,000 or roughly twice the amount of the $32,866 being charged to Hillsdale students for this academic year.  It is clear that without the generosity of friends such as you, Hillsdale would not be a financially viable choice for a number of our best students.  In the year ahead, projected awards to Hillsdale College students are expected to exceed $24 million in grants, loans, and scholarships.  Endowed and annually donated scholarships account for $11,116,200 of the Hillsdale financial aid pie chart, with an additional $1.85 million in Hillsdale Tradition Awards and $5.55 million in budgeted scholarships. 

The loan programs, in the form of Independence Loans (need-based monies raised each year and donated for this purpose) and institutional loans (private loan funds managed by the College), are estimated to top $3.6 million this academic year.  The average Hillsdale student graduates with around $14,000 in institutional student loans on which the current default rate is 2.35 percent.  By comparison the federal default rate with adjustments amounts to 13.7 percent if based upon graduates who have not made a payment in 360 days, or as high as 25 percent if measured against those at least 90 days behind in payment.  Please follow this link for more information about financial aid at Hillsdale College. 

It was recently announced that the Department of Education has noted a $20 billion annual rise in loans outlays, due to a new program that bases loan repayment upon post-graduation income.  To quote from the September 25th Wall Street Journal article by James Freeman:

"Enrollment in the plans has surged, thanks in part to a continuing administration publicity campaign.  As of June, the number had swelled to 1.91 million Americans holding more than $101 billion in student loans—nearly a 10th of all outstanding federal student debt.  The number of borrowers and debt covered roughly has doubled in the past year.  These plans allow borrowers to reduce monthly payments to just 10 percent of discretionary income.  The loans can then be forgiven after 10 years if borrowers work in government or for a non-profit—basically any job as long as it doesn’t involve a profit-seeking business.

So the government is spending taxpayer dollars to encourage young people to avoid repaying loans to taxpayers, while at the same time encouraging these young people to work for outfits that don’t pay taxes.  Margaret Thatcher might have called it a perfect formula for eventually running out of other people’s money.

But in the meantime, the publicity campaign continues.  In a Tuesday speech, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said, ‘This loan forgiveness can enhance the affordability of public service careers.’  It sure can, because it amounts to significant unreported tax-free compensation for government workers and community organizers.  And it relieves any pressure on universities to reduce prices, because it transfers the unbearable costs from borrowers to taxpayers.”

            The moral of the story—if there are in fact any morals involved—is that the American taxpayer ends up footing the bill for bloated loans and tuition at institutions that teach a politically correct agenda, which in turn trains them to become servants of a progressive government.  By stark contrast, Hillsdale College is educating young men and women to become leaders and to stand on their own two feet in order to contribute to society in the form of productive and vital livelihoods.  It is no wonder that the interest in Hillsdale College is surging at such a time of dramatic social and political change.  For further information on the Student Independence Grant and Loan Fund, please contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail jcervini@hillsdale.edu.

The Latest News for Hillsdale College Events in 2014-2015

The list of upcoming Hillsdale College events in the year ahead is more ambitious than ever.  As I read through the list for the academic year ahead, and include the month of September, at least 50 Hillsdale College events will have taken place by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.  Included in this are the on-campus CCA (Center for Constructive Alternatives) seminars that afford guests an opportunity to audit classes and attend panel discussions and other daytime events, while enjoying lectures by notable scholars in the afternoon and evening sessions.  The Hillsdale Hostel program has expanded to include two shorter Hostels in the fall and spring, which utilize the Kirby Center as a base of operations.  In fact, just announced is the March 24-27, 2015, Hostel, entitled “Churchill and the World Wars,” that will take place in Washington, D.C.  Lecturers will include Larry Arnn and Professor of History Tom Conner.

Departing from Lisbon, the next cruise is expected to book up quickly, given that the itinerary includes a visit to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, 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, a tour of Oxford University, including the classrooms of C.S. Lewis, and a stop at the pub where Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings group met to discuss the topics of the day and share a pint of ale.  A brochure will be published later this month, or you may phone (877) 242-6397 for further details.  You may also e-mail info@hillsdalecollegecruise.com or visit the website hillsdalecollegecruise.com.

For those in the process of becoming newly acquainted with Hillsdale College, we offer Freedom Forums and Hometown Lectures.  The College’s exhibits at trade shows, such as the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting, ensures that we meet, face-to-face, those who have heard about Hillsdale and would like to learn more.  Of course at every Hillsdale event, no matter the type of program, we welcome our friends such as you and your guests and encourage you to send us the names and addresses of those who would benefit from being invited to Hillsdale events in their area.  Please review the enclosed overview of upcoming events and check what will fit with your schedule.  The e-mail addresses for the various event staff contacts are on the back of the enclosed event schedule.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Hillsdale College on the Airwaves

As evidenced by the success of the radio advertisement campaigns at the College, radio appears to be one of the last vestiges where conservatives have a voice that is listened to and sometimes heeded.  With the advent of a College radio station, students interested in learning the technicalities and techniques of radio broadcasting will have a chance to develop their broadcasting skills at close range.  The first step in establishing a Hillsdale College radio station was the acquisition of a local, low-power radio signal, which the College was allowed to acquire because of its nonprofit educational status.  If all goes well, “Radio Free Hillsdale” (working title) will be on the air next spring or, at the latest, by early summer.  You will have to come to campus to tune in, though, since the low-power signal will extend to just beyond the campus borders.

As some background, the possibility of this expansion onto the airwaves was brought to the attention of the College by radio entrepreneur Vince Benedetto.  Vince first heard about Hillsdale College while listening to the conservative talk shows airing on one his radio stations in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He then began attending Hillsdale events at the Kirby Center and joined The President’s Club.  Vince is the CEO of Bold Gold Media Group, and it was his company that assisted the College in preparing the application to broadcast with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).  The application was accepted this past January.  The director of the Dow Journalism Program, John Miller, is enthusiastic about the new station and the opportunities for learning it will offer up to students interested in broadcasting.  “I’m confident there will be a high level of student involvement,” Professor Miller said. “I want it to be for radio what the Collegian is for journalism.”

Making a Difference

One of the greatest foes of liberty may be said to be the indifference of a country’s citizenry.  Because of this widespread apathy, many think that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to raise the sleeping giant that is the American will for freedom.  Working at Hillsdale College gives one hope that this is not the case, for every day we meet and reconnect with patriots of all ages and walks of life.  Foremost as a source of inspiration are the Hillsdale students hard at work in their studies—be they undergraduate or graduate students—who by all appearances are having the time of their lives.  And why not, since they have every opportunity before them and the luxury of exploring where their greatest passions are for making a difference.  Hillsdale students, faculty, staff, and friends such as you are the antidote to indifference.  As Larry Arnn shared in a recent conversation, “The College has an army of individuals willing to espouse what is good, right, and true.”  As a valued member of the Hillsdale College army of liberty we thank you for your ongoing commitment to restore what is still the greatest country on earth.  Together, we can help to awaken this nation and right its course to set sail once again for a return to the Constitution.



                                                                        Kathleen Ruddy, ’82

                                                                        Director of Associates and Special Projects



            PS:  If you would like to receive e-mail updates from me periodically between newsletters, please e-mail your preferred e-mail address to associates@hillsdale.edu, or phone Kay Walworth at (517) 607-2477 or send your e-mail address to us in the enclosed postage-paid envelope.  Thank you!