For the 13th con­sec­utive year, Don Tocco will return to campus Wednesday, April 13 to deliver a talk at 7 p.m. in the Searle Center. Student groups can sign up to receive an atten­dance-based mon­etary donation to their clubs, hon­o­raries, sports teams, or Greek houses from Tocco.

In his talk titled “Learning to Fly: Cre­ating Your Own Instructor’s Manual for Life,” Tocco will provide stu­dents with advice about how to incor­porate the fun­da­mental prin­ciples learned at Hillsdale College into post-graduate life.

“One notable char­acter in Hillsdale stu­dents is that so many of you are highly moti­vated and have a very high expec­tation for achievement in your per­sonal life,” Tocco said. “I equate that with going higher and farther in life. In order to do that, you have to learn how to fly.”

Tocco will hand out booklets titled “There Are No Grades in the Real World” and give a copy of his book “Art of the Journey” to each senior at the talk, as well.

“We’re born into this complex world without an instructor’s manual,” Tocco said. “What I will be pro­viding are tools, ideas, and ways that you can dial in and work on what I call immutable, unchangeable laws of success. We’re going to cover those fun­da­mental prin­ciples and laws on how to get your­selves ready men­tally, emo­tionally, spir­i­tually for a better life.”

Tocco is the founder and pres­ident of D.L. Tocco & Asso­ciates, a national company based in Troy, Michigan, that spe­cializes in business devel­opment and mar­keting. Tocco is also a pub­lished author, an artist, a moti­va­tional speaker, and a long-time friend to Hillsdale College.

Director of Student Activ­ities Anthony Manno iden­tified Tocco as a “great guy” to talk about post-grad­u­ation success.

“I think Mr. Tocco com­mands a lot of respect. When he walks in a room, you know he’s important,” Manno said. “I think he’s built up such a good rep­u­tation here at the college that stu­dents will respect him. And if they don’t know him yet, they will soon know and respect him.”

Sophomore Nathan Putrich, who struck up a friendship with Tocco after meeting him as a prospective student, said this is sure to be one of Tocco’s greatest talks.

“I’m fired up for the event,” Putrich said. “He really wants to connect with every student in the audience and help them to realize that they can take their life by the reigns and achieve the success and ful­fillment they are looking for. It’s a no-brainer to attend, be inspired, and help your orga­ni­zation out finan­cially while you’re at it.”

Tocco said he believes Hillsdale College is “the most important liberal arts college in America, and maybe the most important college in America.” For that reason, he said he wants to help Hillsdale stu­dents succeed.

“I want to do every­thing I can to see Hillsdale stu­dents succeed because it makes America better — and that’s good for me,” Tocco said. “But you can’t fly until you have a plane, and you have to get your plane built, and you’re building your plane at Hillsdale College.”

In order to help campus orga­ni­za­tions, Tocco asked each group leader to come up with a thoughtful question for him to answer after the talk.

“He essen­tially wants to be put on the spot in a way; he doesn’t want to know the ques­tions beforehand so he has to think on the fly about what he’s done in his life and how that can help you,” Manno said. “Often with Q&A, you answer less ques­tions than you’d hope, so afterward, I am going to provide him with the other ques­tions, and he is going to respond to the other student leaders via email.”

Tocco’s desire to help Hillsdale stu­dents is shown through his friendship with Putrich. Putrich said they talk reg­u­larly as Tocco offers advice about school and leadership.

“He always has encour­aging, guiding, and inspi­ra­tional words to share and wouldn’t hes­itate to tell me to rethink direc­tions if I’m off track,” Putrich said. “I’ve never walked away from a con­ver­sation with him without real­izing how con­ta­gious his passion, enthu­siasm, and zeal for life is. It’s incredible. I have a lot of respect for his drive and ambition, and he is always radi­ating that type of energy.”

In an email sent out by Manno Wednesday, student group leaders can find a link to a Google form that will allow them to sign up for the event.

Manno said  Tocco ulti­mately will make the decision regarding what con­sti­tutes as good atten­dance. Then, Manno will use a simple formula involving the number of group members and the per­centage of atten­dance to determine the mon­etary amount. Tocco has not dis­closed how much money he will donate.

After more than 400 stu­dents attended last year’s talk, Manno said he expects another great turnout. Tocco said he looks forward to returning to Hillsdale each year, and this year is no different.

“This is my favorite thing I do all year. It’s where I have the most fun,” he said. “It’s a real honor, and I look forward to it.”