President of Hillsdale College Larry Arnn speaks at Spring commencement | Collegian
Pres­ident of Hillsdale College Larry Arnn speaks at spring com­mencement | Collegian

As Pres­ident-elect Donald Trump started filling his cabinet last week, spec­u­lation has grown around Hillsdale’s own Pres­ident Larry Arnn as a potential pick for the sec­retary of education. 

In an email exchange with The Col­legian, Arnn con­firmed that his name has been one of many sug­gested to fill Trump’s admin­is­tration with qual­ified indi­viduals, but he declined to give any specifics. 

“[Trump] has a lot of jobs to fill,” Arnn said. “Names fly around at light speed. Mine is one of the minor names. This is not the first time this has hap­pened to me.”

Arnn said in a follow-up email that he is unsure of the specifics regarding if he was on an official shortlist but promised that he will keep the college’s best interests at the fore­front of the decision. 

“Some people of influence would like for me to do it,” Arnn said. “They are not the people who would decide. If those people decide to ask me, then I will make a decision. I will make no decision that I think would harm the college or result in my per­manent sep­a­ration from it.” 

A variety of sources have also con­firmed on back­ground that Arnn’s name was floated as a potential pick for sec­retary of education. 

A con­gres­sional staffer con­firmed to The Col­legian that in a con­ver­sation, top Trump adviser Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, R‑Alabama, expressed that Ses­sions was sym­pa­thetic to the idea of Arnn as a potential sec­retary of education. 

A Michigan-based Trump cam­paign vol­unteer said Arnn’s name has been con­sidered and is on a shortlist of candidates. 

On Wednesday, numerous tweets increased spec­u­lation that he is a finalist.

“Just told LARRY ARNN of Hillsdale is finalist for Sec­retary of Edu­cation,” tweeted Phil Kerpen, pres­ident of American Com­mitment, a con­ser­v­ative-based 501(c)(4).

In addition, con­ser­v­ative political com­men­tator and radio per­son­ality Rush Lim­baugh dis­cussed it on his show on Wednesday, stating that he was thrilled at the prospect of Arnn taking on a role in Trump’s Cabinet. 

“Can you imagine if Larry Arnn ended up as edu­cation sec­retary?”  Lim­baugh said. “You put him in there at edu­cation and Cruz or Jeff Ses­sions as attorney general — look, I’m here to tell you that the names I have seen floated are more solid and better in terms of con­ser­vatism than your average Repub­lican nominee would put together.”

Arnn would be an inter­esting choice for sec­retary of edu­cation, given Arnn’s fre­quent lec­tures against the bureau­cratic state and reg­u­latory agencies. Last year, when Hillsdale was excluded from the Edu­cation Department’s College Scorecard website and labeled as a “cer­tificate degree-granting insti­tution,” Arnn expressed his dis­sat­is­faction with its analysis. 

“Hillsdale College, 1844. United States Department of Edu­cation, 1979,” Arnn said. “The latter has never been very good at history or even current affairs.”

The Edu­cation Department has since labeled the misiden­ti­fi­cation of Hillsdale as a cer­tificate degree-granting insti­tution an error. 

According to Politico, other names in con­sid­er­ation for sec­retary of edu­cation include Rep. Luke Messer, R‑Indiana; William Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Insti­tution; and the former chan­cellor of Wash­ington, D.C.’s public schools, Michelle Rhee. 

This is the second time during the course of this election season that Arnn’s name was dropped for a Capitol Hill position. Fol­lowing the res­ig­nation of former Speaker of the House John Boehner, R‑Ohio, in October 2015, Steve Hayes, Weekly Standard senior writer, said in a Fox News segment that Arnn would be a quality choice for the position.

“There’s a reason he rose to the top of my head,” Hayes told The Col­legian at the time. “He’s intel­ligent, serious, and has a back­ground with under­standing states­manship. Having spent hours in the classroom and in lec­tures he’s given, I know he under­stands what’s at the heart of the republic.”

Arnn said he wasn’t seri­ously con­sid­ering leaving Hillsdale for Capitol Hill at that time, and Rep. Paul Ryan, R‑Wisconsin, was chosen. 

Numerous Hillsdale stu­dents said they would be ecstatic, if Arnn were to take a position in Trump’s administration.

“I’m not a fan of the Department of Edu­cation, like a lot of stu­dents here,” freshman Alexis Nester said. “But I’m sure if appointed, he would work to reduce it.” 

Some members of Hillsdale’s pol­itics department, however, said it’s way too early to spec­ulate on political appointments.

But pol­itics department chairman Mickey Craig said it would be a blessing to have someone with Arnn’s expe­rience in the Cabinet. 

“I think Arnn would be a great sec­retary of edu­cation,” Craig said. “As a college pres­ident, he has dealt with the edu­cation department and a lot of the idiotic things they do. He has studied pol­itics and the Con­sti­tution. It would be good for him to be at the Cabinet table.”