Wallace Heckman, of the class of 1874, in his 1885 Hillsdale College Commencement address, claimed that “high-souled men and women, who from schools like this, lend dignity to common life, are this land’s best security.” Heckman also commended the faculty for having “built this school by building into it the best work of their best days, wrought with their hands and by plain tastes and habits of life.” Over 100 years later, Hillsdale’s purpose has not changed. The principled commitment to excellence remains, as do a distinguished faculty, talented students, a dedicated staff, loyal alumni and friends, and continuous fidelity to an admirable mission.
Like most of you, my hopes for Hillsdale remain steadfast. As you probably know by now, George Roche, Hillsdale’s president for the past 28 years, has retired, and Hillsdale must choose a new leader. Such transitions are always difficult. Yet, throughout its history Hillsdale has always stood for principled independence. Those from all walks of life and perspectives who believe in and support the institution understand its legacy. Enduring ideals still guide us. As supporters, we have a responsibility—now more vital than ever—to advance the College’s mission.
Hillsdale College is recognized for its academic excellence by virtually every educational survey in America.
Next year, nearly half our student body will be from the top ten percent of its high-school class. We have planned, completed and, with private donations, funded a decade-long series of building projects unmatched by any other school our size. The quality of our faculty, the number of scholarships, and the growth of our endowment serve as three more indicators of Hillsdale’s careful financial stewardship.
I am a veteran of the U.S. Navy and can best explain the job before us in Navy terms: the ship awaits a new captain. But the vessel itself, its purpose and its resources remain intact and focused. Hillsdale is directed by a dedicated crew that possesses the know-how and commitment to stay the charted course. Be assured that no one is underestimating the magnitude of the task. We forge ahead confident that Hillsdale’s independence and teaching mission are sound.
With significant prayer and acts of courage, Hillsdale’s message will continue to represent the ideals we cherish. I hope you will extend your patience and understanding as we move forward. On behalf of the entire board of trustees, I ask for your support as Dr. Robert Blackstock begins his service as Hillsdale’s acting president and CEO. The trustees and faculty endorse Bob’s leadership, honed and proven by 23 years of worthy and able service.