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Hillsdale College

From Academic Kids

Hillsdale College is an independent, co-educational, nonsectarian, post-secondary liberal arts institution located on the north side of the city of Hillsdale, Michigan in central southern Michigan. Its 200 acre (0.8 km²) campus contains several instructional and office buildings, residence halls, Greek houses, an athletic complex, and an arboretum.

Hillsdale College was established in 1844 and was the first college in Michigan to grant degrees to women. The college has always accepted persons of all races, even prior to the American Civil War.

As of 2002, Hillsdale's student body is almost evenly divided on the basis of sex, with slightly more females enrolled. The college offers a variety of liberal arts majors, pre-professional programs, a teacher education program, and a journalism certificate program. Hillsdale's most popular major is history.

Hillsdale came under fire in the 1970s following the enactment of affirmative action legislation. Hillsdale refused compliance on the grounds that its own policies were superior and had historically been less discriminatory than those the federal government would impose. Hillsdale also contended that it was not required to comply because it was a private school not receiving federal aid. However, the federal government argued that although the school was not funded directly, some students were receiving federal aid. As a result of the court's decision, students at Hillsdale can no longer receive federal student aid, though they can still receive aid from the state of Michigan. Students continue to be funded through a variety of private-sector endeavors. Also as a result of this decision, parents of Hillsdale students are ineligible to take any federal education tax credits or deductions for expenses they incur to send their children there.

Hillsdale has been the home to several eminent faculty members, including economists Dr. Richard Ebeling and Dr. Wolfgang Grassl; historians Dr. John Willson, Dr. Bradley Birzer, and Sir Martin Gilbert; and sculptor Tony Frudakis. As of 2004, Ebeling is on a leave, heading up the Foundation for Economic Education, and in Spring 2004 Dr. Grassl resigned in disgust with the college. Birzer, an avid Tolkien admirer, authored the book Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth. Frudakis sculpted the life-size statue of George Washington which stands near the administrative building Moss Hall and also sculpted the statue of Socrates which sits in the library. In 2004, both Chief Justice Clarence Thomas and eminent classicist Victor Davis Hanson served short terms on the faculty, teaching seminar courses to select groups of students.

Hillsdale College often features prominent speakers at its Center for Constuctive Alternatives (CCA) seminars. These have included former President Ronald Reagan, activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The College publishes the phenomenally popular Imprimis, a free speech digest with over 1.1 million subscribers.

Hillsdale College is traditionally considered a bastion of conservative and libertarian thought, but now there are few libertarians on the faculty, existing primarily in the economics department. Tensions between conservatives, neoconservatives and libertarians, or "classical liberals," run high.

Hillsdale College operates a K-12 liberal arts school, Hillsdale Academy. The Academy's rigorous teaching methods are respected nationwide.

Many Hillsdale students served in the Union army during the American Civil War. A monument in their honor was placed near Central Hall at the foot of a flagpole, but this monument has been temporarily removed while two new classroom buildings are erected. During the war, male enrollment at the college was nearly nonexistent.

In the late 1990s, the Hillsdale community was roused by the suspicious death of the daughter-in-law of then-president George Roche III. Her body was discovered in the college's arboretum. It was alleged that she had admitted to having an affair with George Roche III. Controversy still rages over whether she committed suicide or was murdered, and a book was written on the tragedy. Roche no longer works for Hillsdale College. Despite the shame brought by the incident, his labors to improve the college remain respected, and the college's sports complex, built during his presidency, bears his name.

Neoconservative Dr. Larry P. Arnn, as of 2004, serves as president of the college. Arnn has studied at Oxford University in England and worked with Martin Gilbert (now Sir), the official biographer of Winston Churchill.

In 2003, Chris Chocola, a Hillsdale graduate, was elected to the United States House of Representatives, joining another Hillsdale alumnus, Representative Phil Crane (who served until 2004) as a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee.

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