Matthew Spalding, associate vice president and director of the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., was named the center’s first endowed chair this month.
Hillsdale College Provost David Whalen said the college recognized Spalding with the position of Allan P. Kirby Jr. endowed chair for his excellence as a public face of the college in the capital.
“The Kirby Center is Hillsdale’s campus in Washington, and as such, teaching is its primary purpose. The endowed chair is designed to promote and facilitate this central function,” Whalen said. “Dr. Spalding’s experience, keen understanding, and dedication equip him perfectly for his role at the Kirby Center and to be its first endowed chair.”
Spalding thanked Kirby for his support of the college in a news release.
“The work of supporting and communicating the ideas and purposes of constitutional self-government is needed now more than ever, throughout our country but especially in the nation’s capital,” Spalding said. “This endowment will allow Hillsdale to have that voice permanently.”
Senior Jacob Thackston, a former student in the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program, said although he never had Spalding as a professor, the Kirby Center director always reached out to help him make decisions about his future.
“He introduced me to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at daily mass once,” he said. “It was just a casual thing — the two struck up a conversation after mass and he said, ‘Hey, here’s one of my students.’”
Junior Noah Weinrich, a current WHIP student, said he appreciates the way Spalding conducts his classroom.
“I like the fact that he really challenges his students in class,” he said. “He’s the most socratic professor I’ve had — he tries to make us come to conclusions ourselves.”
Weinrich also said although he has not known Spalding as a professor for very long, he recognizes his importance to the college.
“Dr. Spalding bridges the gap between the theoretical world of Hillsdale and the down and dirty world of D.C.,” he said.