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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dr. Larry Arnn: "The Educator as Statesman"

By Michael R. Cook
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Anyone concerned about the generally deplorable state of American higher education will be heartened by the remarks, contained in the video below, of Dr. Larry P. Arnn.

Larry Arnn became the twelfth president of Hillsdale College in 2000. Many of us are familiar with Hillsdale as the little school in Michigan that refuses all government funding – as well as the onerous regulations that invariably accompany taxpayer subsidies.

Less well-known, perhaps, is the fact that Hillsdale distinguishes itself, today, as one of the very few places where young Americans can obtain an authentic education in the liberal arts – the kind of education, as Jefferson believed, that is essential to self-government in a free republic.

In fact, Hillsdale is doing today exactly what it has done from the time of its founding in 1844. It teaches the “permanent things.”

And why should we find this heartening? After all, Hillsdale is but one small outpost in a landscape containing thousands of colleges and universities whose faculties have, almost uniformly, abandoned the classical liberal arts curriculum – along with any serious reflection on America’s founding principles.

But at Hillsdale, we do find ample cause for encouragement. Under Dr. Arnn’s inspirational leadership, the college is flourishing. Each year it attracts more and better-qualified applicants for admission. And each year the reach of the school’s influence expands. For example, its monthly speech digest, Imprimis, is now received in 1.8 million homes and offices.

Today, Hillsdale College is anything but obscure. Indeed, some believe that Hillsdale has taken its place as the finest liberal arts college in the land. I include myself among that number.

Listen to Dr. Arnn’s remarks delivered recently before an audience in Naples, Florida, and I think you’ll have good reason to agree with me.

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