College is beau­tiful because the com­munity it creates can exist under no other cir­cum­stances. When stu­dents come together at Hillsdale, the campus ini­tiates them into a won­der­fully new envi­ronment — each class brings a sort of com­munal rebirth that is allowed ever so rarely in our life­times. Each year, Hillsdale grants us the oppor­tunity and priv­ilege to make it our own. Just as the grad­u­ating class before ours shaped the college, so we too shaped it. I hope that the classes to come will treat it with the love and care which I hope can be rec­og­nized in myself and my peers.

Each class lends the college its own char­ac­ter­istics, and each student makes an imme­diate and visible dif­ference, forming a place that is familiar yet ever-changing. While many alumni come back and feel the changes that have taken place in their absence, they feel famil­iarity and comfort as well.

We as stu­dents add to a place only we can truly under­stand. Out­siders can attempt to under­stand; we all see the wan­dering parents, ever so eager to catch a glimpse of what exactly it is that we are under­taking. We each know a hometown friend that searched for Hillsdale on Google in hopes of finding out what exactly it is that we keep talking about when we go back. But these people can’t grasp it in the same way that we can, just as Kansans could not quite under­stand what it’s like to grow up in Cal­i­fornia, no matter how hard they might try.

Without entering into Hillsdale com­pletely and taking part in its tra­di­tions, its history, and its future, one will never under­stand it fully. Whether we have enjoyed our time here or not, our time here will never leave us. Hillsdale impacted us per­ma­nently. This impact is some­thing that only we are privy to, it is some­thing that we will enjoy for the rest of our lives, some­thing that we can come back to in the future and see others obtaining for them­selves.

When we go out into the world, our expe­ri­ences here will be shared and under­stood with those who have also come from this place. When you meet an alumnus who grad­uated long ago, you will share  a special con­nection through the Hillsdale tra­dition. You are both from Hillsdale, you both can revel in and enjoy that fact even if the rest of you have as much in common as oak trees and moon rocks.

At Hillsdale, we become some­thing more than our­selves. We are also the school in which we are edu­cated, the dorm where we met our freshman year roommate, the dining hall where plans were hatched and rumors dis­persed, and the classroom where we vig­i­lantly fought the battle against sleep (while we may have lost many battles, we have now won the war). This school is now part of who we are, and who we will con­tinue to be.

Hillsdale in par­ticular has this effect on its grad­uates. This insti­tution worked for nearly two cen­turies to set itself apart from other places of higher edu­cation. Other schools possess their own unique traits as well, but presently few are as truly unique as this place. While some resent this fact, we must appre­ciate it nonetheless. For many of us it is some­thing sweet, but even if we think it bitter there is still good to be found in our sin­gu­larity. I, for one, am exceed­ingly grateful for the oppor­tunity and expe­rience this place pro­vided me. I hope that you are as well, for it is some­thing that is now inescapable, no matter how hard we may try. Take the time, look back, and hold it all again dearly before you must let it go.

We are all Hills­dalians now, and that’s some­thing beau­tiful.

Mr. Robson is a senior studying eco­nomics.

  • Acci­den­tal­Catholic

    As parents of a grad­u­ating senior, Hillsdale has also changed us in deep and pro­found ways. It was my school of choice for my son above all others, yet I needed to let him decide for his own sake. When he and his Dad attended the Spring Con­vo­cation in 2013 in an attempt to glean more about what made Hillsdale dif­ferent from the other schools under con­sid­er­ation, that beau­tiful cer­emony helped him to decide on Hillsdale.

    For us parents, Hillsdale will remain a part of our lives. For our son, Hillsdale has made him the man he is today. A man who more deeply under­stands what is good, true, and beau­tiful and why it matters to humanity to know these things. He is now a man who seeks to do things that are bigger than he is and has a desire to con­tribute to society in a mean­ingful way. For these things, and so much more, we will forever be grateful for Hillsdale and its unique and special way.