Hillsdale College

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Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College seal.jpg
MottoVirtus Tentamine Gaudet
Motto in EnglishStrength Rejoices in the Challenge
EstablishedDecember 4, 1844
TypeLiberal arts college
Endowment$295 million (2011)[1]
PresidentLarry P. Arnn
ProvostDavid M. Whalen
Academic staff124 full-time, 40 adjunct
LocationHillsdale, Michigan, USA
41°55′59″N 84°37′55″W / 41.933°N 84.632°W / 41.933; -84.632Coordinates: 41°55′59″N 84°37′55″W / 41.933°N 84.632°W / 41.933; -84.632
CampusRural, 200 acres (82 buildings)
Former namesMichigan Central College
ColorsBlue and White         
AthleticsNCAA Division II; 11 varsity intercollegiate sports teams
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Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College seal.jpg
MottoVirtus Tentamine Gaudet
Motto in EnglishStrength Rejoices in the Challenge
EstablishedDecember 4, 1844
TypeLiberal arts college
Endowment$295 million (2011)[1]
PresidentLarry P. Arnn
ProvostDavid M. Whalen
Academic staff124 full-time, 40 adjunct
LocationHillsdale, Michigan, USA
41°55′59″N 84°37′55″W / 41.933°N 84.632°W / 41.933; -84.632Coordinates: 41°55′59″N 84°37′55″W / 41.933°N 84.632°W / 41.933; -84.632
CampusRural, 200 acres (82 buildings)
Former namesMichigan Central College
ColorsBlue and White         
AthleticsNCAA Division II; 11 varsity intercollegiate sports teams

Hillsdale College is a co-educational liberal arts college in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States. National Review has described Hillsdale as a "citadel of American conservatism."[2][3] It claims to be the first American college to prohibit admissions discrimination based on race, sex, or religion in its written charter.[4] Most of the curriculum is based on and centered around the teaching of the Western heritage as a product of both the Greco-Roman culture and the Judeo-Christian tradition.[citation needed] Hillsdale requires every student, regardless of major, to complete a core curriculum that includes courses on the Great Books and the U.S. Constitution.[5]


Founding and early history[edit]

Hillsdale in the nineteenth century

Hillsdale College was established as Michigan Central College in Spring Arbor, Michigan, on December 4, 1844. In 1853, the college moved to Hillsdale, Michigan and assumed its current name.

Hillsdale was founded by Freewill Baptists. In the nineteenth century Hillsdale and Bates College in Maine were the only American colleges affiliated with the denomination.[6] Hillsdale no longer has any denominational affiliation, and Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Oklahoma was founded after Hillsdale College disaffiliated itself with the denomination. Among others, George Harvey Ball, later founder of Keuka College and the Ball Brothers (founders of Ball Corporation and benefactors of Ball State University) played active roles in founding and sustaining Hillsdale College, respectively.[7]

Black students were admitted immediately after the college's 1844 founding,[4] and the College became the second school in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women.[8]

Many Hillsdale students served in the Union army during the American Civil War. A higher percentage of Hillsdale students enlisted than from any other Michigan college.[9]

College presidents[edit]

Daniel McBride Graham was the college's first president, serving from 1844 to 1848 and returning for a second term from 1871 to 1874.[10]

Edmund Burke Fairfield, the college's second president, led Hillsdale from 1848 to 1869.[10] During his presidency, he helped found the Republican Party.[11]

James Calder was the college's third president, serving from 1869 to 1871. He resigned to become president of the Pennsylvania State University.[10] DeWitt Clinton Durgin, a graduate of Union College, held the presidency from 1874 to 1878.[10] George F. Mosher served from 1886 to 1901.[10][12]

Joseph William Mauck was the sixth president, leading from 1902 to 1922.[10] He was an outspoken advocate for women's suffrage.[13][14] He was succeeded by William Gear Spencer from 1922 to 1932,[10] who departed to lead Franklin College.[15]

Willfred Otto Mauck was the eighth president from 1933 to 1942. He was succeeded by Harvey L. Turner from 1942 to 1952, and J. Donald Phillips from 1952 to 1971.[10]

George Roche III was the eleventh president of Hillsdale College, serving from 1971 to 1999. During his presidency, the college increased its endowment, established the Center for Constructive Alternatives, brought prominent national speakers to campus, and published Imprimis, Hillsdale's speech digest.[10] He resigned on November 10, 1999 after being placed on a leave of absence by the college's board of directors. This occurred after Lissa Jackson Roche, his daughter-in-law, was found dead in Slayton Arboretum shortly after stating that she and Roche had an affair. He emphatically denied her claims and maintained that no sexual relationship had taken place. Her death was ruled a suicide by investigators.[2][16]

Dr. Larry P. Arnn currently serves as president of the college, a position he assumed in 2000.[17] Arnn is one of the highest paid liberal arts college presidents in the United States, earning an annual compensation package in 2009 totaling $608,615, which includes a base salary of $289,867.[18][19]


Hillsdale enrolls more than 1,400 students from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and eight foreign countries. The college employs 124 full-time faculty members.[20] Hillsdale was ranked 82nd in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report listing of best National Liberal Arts Colleges.[21] It ranks fourth for "most conservative" students in the Princeton Review's evaluation of The Best 378 Colleges 2013[22] Hillsdale also ranked 196th of 650 schools, including 33rd in the Midwest and 4th in the state of Michigan, in the 2013 Forbes report of America's Best Colleges.[23] Undergraduate offerings include a variety of liberal arts majors, pre-professional programs, a teacher education program, and a journalism certificate program.[24] Hillsdale College also manages Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school.[25] A graduate program called the "Graduate School of Statesmanship" was inaugurated in 2012. Its focus is political philosophy and American politics; it awards Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Politics.[26]


Delp Hall and the Liberty Walk, facing Central Hall

Hillsdale's 200-acre (81 ha) campus contains multiple instructional and office buildings, thirteen residence halls, six fraternity and sorority houses, an athletic complex, music hall, arts center, conference center, hotel, and preschool.[24] Hillsdale College also manages Hillsdale Academy, a private K-12 liberal arts school.[25]

The college's Slayton Arboretum was officially created in 1922 when Mr. and Mrs. George A. Slayton 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.[citation needed]

An unusual feature of the campus is the Statues of Liberty Walk, a walkway lined with the representations 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."[27]


Non-discrimination and affirmative action[edit]

Hillsdale's non-discrimination policy remained controversial throughout its history. For example, 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.[28][29]

In the late 1970s, the college took a stand in opposition to affirmative action.[citation needed] Because some students were receiving federal loans, the U.S. federal government asserted that it could require Hillsdale College to submit Assurance of Compliance forms mandated by Title IX as a condition of the continued receipt of federal financial assistance by two hundred Hillsdale students. Hillsdale refused compliance on the grounds that affirmative action was racial discrimination. This ongoing dispute with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) began to intensify 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 February 1984, in a related case, Grove City College v. Bell, the Supreme Court required every college or university to fulfill 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.[30] Since 2007, Hillsdale's entire operating budget of the college, including scholarships, comes from private funding and endowments.

In 2010 Hillsdale's "Resolution Against Federal Interference," stated 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."[31]

In 2013 Hilldale president Larry Arnn was criticized for his remarks about ethnic minorities when he testified before the Michigan State Legislature. In testimony against the Common Core curriculum standards, in which Arnn expressed 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", he 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?"[32] Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel condemned Arnn for his comments, which he called "offensive" and "inflammatory and bigoted", and asked for an apology.[33] 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.[34]

Treadgold case[edit]

In 1987, Hillsdale College's dean of women and another faculty member litigated against each other regarding the selection of the editor of the student newspaper, The Hillsdale Collegian. Some faculty members questioned the litigation in a letter to the editor. One of those faculty members, professor Warren Treadgold, was not extended a renewal of his probationary appointment to teach because of performance based factors that were unrelated to the litigation and letter. The basis for the nonrenewal was Professor Treadgold's extended absence from the college for the two years leading up to the decision to not renew the probationary appointment, after only teaching at the college for two years that began in fall 1983. Further, during the second of those two years Professor Treadgold taught at a reduced teaching load to pursue his writing. Professor Treadgold involved the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which is an association that represents the interests of professors. The AAUP concluded that the Association's standards were not consistent with the nonrenewal of Mr. Treadgold. AAUP also stated that the nonrenewal could have been partially because of Professor Treadgold's role in the letter to the editor."[35] Hillsdale has never sought a retraction of the AAUP’s allegations. Hillsdale asserts that the AAUP’s authority to censure is self-appointed. Also, the college is concerned that the AAUP’s proposed faculty-review board would have authority to overturn decisions of Hillsdale’s Board of Trustees, which is the ultimate authority for personnel issues at Hillsdale.[36]


Center for Constructive Alternatives[edit]

Further information: Imprimis

Hillsdale brings speakers to campus through its Center for Constructive Alternatives program, one of the largest college lecture series in America.[citation needed] Lectures are open to the public.[37] 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.[38][39] Lectures and speeches from the series are published monthly in Imprimis,[40] and distributed monthly for free. First published in 1972, Imprimis has a circulation of over two million subscribers.[41]

Barney Charter School Initiative[edit]

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."[42]

Allan P. Kirby Center[edit]

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[43] 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".[44] 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 Rahe.[45] The Kirby Center also hosts an annual Constitution Day celebration and conducts online, interactive town halls on matters related to the Constitution.[citation needed]

Campus life[edit]


The College has a number of sports teams that compete on the NCAA Division II level, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, softball, women's swimming, track and field, cross country, and volleyball.[46] The college also has club teams and intramural sports that vary from year to year.[47] The Chargers, as the Hillsdale athletics teams are known, compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The Hillsdale College nickname is the Chargers [48]

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.[49]


National Runners-up:

Basketball Final Four:

Greek life[edit]

North-American Interfraternity Conference Fraternities

National Panhellenic Conference Sororities

Alma mater[edit]

Hillsdale's alma mater is "White and Blue." The words and melody were composed by Bess Hagaman Tefft, Class of 1937.[61]

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

Present faculty[edit]

Visiting faculty and fellows[edit]

Past faculty[edit]


  1. ^ van der Vaart, Marieke (2011-11-17). "Endowment takes $20 million hit". The Collegian. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  2. ^ a b Miller, John J. (1999-11-12). "Horror at Hillsdale". National Review. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  3. ^ Mackenzie Weinger (2011-04-11). "'Conservative Citadel' Comes to Capitol Hill". Roll Call. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  4. ^ a b http://books.google.com/books?id=ZJ7phRjZmUsC&pg=PA177&dq=hillsdale+first+college+to+prohibit+discrimination&hl=en&ei=_7T-TcBKyuKIAqy7lI0F&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=hillsdale%20first%20college%20to%20prohibit%20discrimination&f=false
  5. ^ "Core Curriculum". Hillsdale College. 
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  7. ^ Anthony O. Edmonds, E. Bruce Geelhoed, Ball State University: An Interpretive History (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), p.51
  8. ^ Irene Harwarth, Mindi Maline, & Elizabeth DeBra. "Women's Colleges in the United States: History, Issues, and Challenges". United States Department of Education, National Institute on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  9. ^ Dan Bisher (1999). "A Brief History of Hillsdale County, Pioneer Period: 1825–1843". 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hillsdale College: Past Presidents". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  11. ^ "Dr. E.B. Fairfield Dead". New York Times. 1904-11-19. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  12. ^ "George Frank Mosher; Former Consul at Nice, Educator and Bay State Legislator Dies". New York Times. 1904-11-19. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
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  15. ^ "Spencer Heads Franklin College". New York Times. 1933-03-31. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
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  18. ^ "Chronicle of Higher Education: Executive Compensation at Private Institutions". Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  19. ^ Emma L. Carew & Paul Fain (2009-11-01). "Paychecks Top More Than $1 Million for 23 Private-College Presidents". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  20. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/about/collegeprofile.asp
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  22. ^ "The Best 378 Colleges: Most Conservative Students". Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  23. ^ "Forbes, America's Best Colleges, #196 Hillsdale College". 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
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  26. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/academics/graduate.asp
  27. ^ http://hillsdaleoffer.com/node/7
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  29. ^ McGinnis, Colleen (2002-09-26). "1955 team took stand". The Hillsdale Collegian. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
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  31. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/images/userImages/whadra/Page_7027/ResolutionTrustees5-10.pdf
  32. ^ Klein, Rebecca (2013-08-01). "Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn Under Fire For Calling Minority Students 'Dark Ones'". Huffington Post. 
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  34. ^ Higgins, Lori; Jesse, David (August 1, 2013). "Hillsdale president get heat over racial remark". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 26, 2013. "'No offense was intended by the use of that term except to the offending bureaucrats, and Dr. Arnn is sorry if such offense was honestly taken. But the greater concern, he believes, is the state-endorsed racism the story illustrates.'" 
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  37. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/seminars/oncampus/cca/default.asp
  38. ^ "Hillsdale College: Center for Constructive Alternatives". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  39. ^ "Hillsdale College: Audio and Video Tapes (CCA)". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  40. ^ ISSN 0277-8432: OCLC 3890282 and 19295004 (print); OCLC 800049146 (on-line)
  41. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp
  42. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/seminars/charterschool.asp
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  56. ^ "Alpha Tau Omega, Chapters By State". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  57. ^ "Delta Sigma Phi, Ohio Valley Locations". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
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  60. ^ "Chi Omega, Collegiate Chapters". Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  61. ^ http://www.hillsdale.edu/about/history/alma_mater.asp
  62. ^ Hillsdale College faculty profile: Larry P. Arnn
  63. ^ Hillsdale College faculty profile: Michael Bauman
  64. ^ Hillsdale College faculty profile: Allan Carlson
  65. ^ Hillsdale College faculty profile: Burton Folsom
  66. ^ Mackinac Center for Public Policy biography of Gary L. Wolfram
  67. ^ a b c d e f g Hillsdale College Distinguished Visiting Fellows
  68. ^ Hillsdale College Department-Sponsored Speakers
  69. ^ The Future of Freedom Foundation biography of Richard Ebeling
  70. ^ College Football Hall of Fame Muddy Waters

External links[edit]