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Hillsdale grad­uates are filing into key posi­tions in the Trump admin­is­tration, ranging from speech­writers to legal counsel.

“I admire them all,” Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn said. “These are fine jobs of high service for accom­plished, expe­ri­enced young people.”

At least four grad­uates have taken roles in the new admin­is­tration. But with numerous Cabinet con­fir­ma­tions still unap­proved, there are pos­sibly more in the near future.

After Sec­retary of Edu­cation Betsy DeVos’ his­toric tie-breaking con­fir­mation on Tuesday, Josh Venable, a graduate of the class of 2002, became the chief of staff for the Department of Edu­cation.

Venable was a pol­itics major at Hillsdale and was heavily involved with pol­itics as a student. According to an April 2001 issue of The Col­legian, Venable was elected as a sophomore to serve as the co-chair of the the Michigan Fed­er­ation of College Repub­licans. It was the first time that a Hillsdale student had ever held the title.

“Our main goal was to get one Hillsdale rep­re­sen­tative on the board,” Venable said in the article. “I think it is important to increase involvement and focus our mem­bership on focused message.”

Fol­lowing his time at Hillsdale, Venable immersed himself in the Michigan Repub­lican Party, serving as its deputy political director, director of strategic planning, finance director, oper­a­tions director, and chief of staff. In 2011, he served as deputy finance director of the Repub­lican National Com­mittee.

“Josh was very inter­ested in pol­itics and impressed a lot of people in Michigan pol­itics, including the DeVos family,” Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Mickey Craig said of his former student. “Whatever he does, he does well.”

As reported in The Wash­ington Post, Venable helped prepare DeVos for her Senate con­fir­mation hearing in January, which many con­sidered to be a public rela­tions dis­aster. Venable did not return request for comment.

David Morrell ’07 is asso­ciate counsel for Pres­ident Donald Trump. LinkedIn

But Venable wasn’t the only Hillsdale graduate appointed last week. David Morrell ’07 is serving as asso­ciate counsel to the pres­ident, a spokesperson from Arnn’s office con­firmed.

In an interview with The Col­legian, Morrell said White House counsel Donald McGhan hired him to help identify people for legal jobs worthy of the administration’s agencies.

“It’s a real honor and priv­ilege to serve in this capacity,” Morrell said. “Hillsdale really helped me create a dis­ci­plined way of looking through legal rea­soning. You need to have a certain level of con­fi­dence to have a job like this, and Hillsdale helped create that.”

Morrell studied history at Hillsdale and served as pres­ident of the Student Fed­er­ation. After his senior year, Morrell attended Pep­perdine Uni­versity School of Law but was later accepted to Yale Law School, so he trans­ferred. Later, Morrell clerked for Asso­ciate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“David is an intel­ligent, thoughtful, and inter­esting young man,” said Mark Kalthoff, dean of faculty and pro­fessor of history. “We spent hours in con­ver­sation about history, the­ology, and other ideas. It was clear that when he went to law school that he was going to great things.”

In addition to Venable and Morrell, two other alumni have taken on a behind-the-scenes role in the admin­is­tration.

Brittany Baldwin ’12 is a speech­writer for Pres­ident Donald Trump. LinkedIn

Brittany Baldwin ’12 and Stephen Ford ’10 are serving as speech­writers for Trump and Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence, respec­tively. They did not reply to requests for comment.

Baldwin majored in American studies and was actively involved in campus clubs and orga­ni­za­tions. She was a sister in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, a George Wash­ington Fellow, and the vice pres­ident of her grad­u­ating class.

“Brittany was an out­standing student,” Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Kevin Portteus said. “She was diligent, friendly, and had good char­acter.”

Baldwin also wrote for The Col­legian. In a November 2001 issue of the campus news­paper, Baldwin wrote an opinion piece titled “The Con­ser­v­ative Case for Low­ering the Drinking Age.”

“Many con­ser­v­a­tives hoped that raising the drinking age to 21 would sta­bilize society again,” Baldwin said in the article. “Although this policy may have had con­ser­v­ative inten­tions, in reality, it pre­vents young adults from learning respon­si­bility and delays adulthood in America.”

Before he was writing speeches for the vice pres­ident, Ford was actively involved in the Mu Alpha music fra­ternity as well as Hillsdale’s debate team.

A 2007 issue of The Col­legian wrote a profile piece about Ford and how he spent one of his summers interning for the Rio Grande Foun­dation, a research institute for free-market prin­ciples in Albu­querque, New Mexico.

“The amount of research that one will have to do for the think tank will be quite taxing,” Ford said in the article. “But I feel that this will be a great oppor­tunity to write about some­thing I love, to speak about some­thing I love, and to come to a greater under­standing of why I love them and want to pursue them as worthy goals.”

When asked if he was sur­prised about the numerous appoint­ments and jobs take on by Hillsdale stu­dents, Morrell said he was proud but not sur­prised.

“Hillsdale stu­dents set them­selves apart,” Morrell said. “They’re imag­i­native, they’re good at writing, and they’re prin­cipled. That stands out in this admin­is­tration.”

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Thomas Novelly
Collegian Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Novelly was born in Novi, Michigan, but was raised in Franklin, Tennessee, making him a self-proclaimed "Yankee gone South." Thomas began writing for The Collegian as a sophomore, and since has served as a reporter, columnist, and Assistant City News Editor. He has also worked for two major publications, interning at the Washington Free Beacon in D.C. and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has been seen in National publications such as CBS News, National Review Online, Stars And Stripes, and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
  • I know both Brittany and Stephen. This is great news.

    One slight issue: Given that Brittany was a student from 2008 – 2012, I highly doubt that she wrote an article in 2001. She was the Out­standing Senior Woman in 2012, though.

  • George Gibbs

    “They’re imag­i­native, they’re good at writing, and they’re prin­cipled. That stands out in this admin­is­tration.”
    A good, subtle jab at the Trump admin­is­tration there. Nicely done.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    So, here is the question, will either of these people actually stand up for what they believe, or will they becoming func­tioning cogs in the slime machine that is cur­rently taking place?

  • ne-1

    they should be ashamed of them­selves; the college should not be saluting them

  • Emil

    Glad to see the impact Hillsdale is doing. We need to take our country back and instill great values.

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      I thought #MAGA was about draining the swamp? This is the son of one of Trump’s friends getting a favor.