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Central Hall. | Col­legian

Hillsdale College is con­sid­ering several offers to build a new satellite location, pos­sibly in Cal­i­fornia.

According to College Pres­ident Larry Arnn, the college has received at least three serious offers to expand its oper­a­tions to other parts of the country. Arnn said the oppor­tu­nities come with sig­nif­icant dollar amounts attached and good motives behind them, as the college seeks to grow its out­reach pro­grams and efforts.

“There’s a lot of oppor­tu­nities for the college right now,” Arnn said. “There are a lot of dangers, too, but there are a lot of oppor­tu­nities.”

Since coming to the college, Arnn said he has received mul­tiple offers every year of land for the college to use.

“For many years, we’ve thought, ‘Simply imprac­tical,’” Arnn said. “There are several now in various loca­tions with a sub­stantial amount of money attached to them and good motives attached to them. One year ago I decided the world was telling us some­thing, that we should listen and think about it. We haven’t done any­thing except that: We are thinking about it.”

Ideas for a new Hillsdale-affil­iated location have run mostly akin to the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship in Wash­ington, D.C. Arnn said the college has dis­cussed various ideas for such a place, but is taking dis­crete and sen­sitive steps as it thinks about the prospects. Some examples he noted were an out­reach or online edu­cation center or a center for the Barney Charter School Ini­tiative. Such a building could hold sem­inars and hostel pro­gramming and attract home­schoolers, parents, and friends of the college.

“There are mil­lions of people inter­ested in learning from Hillsdale College,” Arnn said. “It would create another place for them to come.”

Phillip Kilgore, director of the Barney ini­tiative, said such a facility would be helpful for holding regional training events as well as offering summer events and pro­grams to middle and high school stu­dents.

“The satellite facility would give extra capacity for the college during the summer since so many events are held on our current campus between mid-May and mid-August,” Kilgore said.

Arnn also sug­gested a satellite facility holding a graduate school for a Masters of Clas­sical Edu­cation program, which Hillsdale is inter­ested in starting. He said that could launch some­where else and perhaps also on campus.

“We know that there is a need for a quality master’s degree in clas­sical edu­cation,” said Daniel Cou­pland, dean of faculty and pro­fessor of edu­cation. “We think that Hillsdale could do a good job of pro­viding such a program.”

For now, the college does not seem to be looking to open a second under­graduate college campus any­where. Arnn, however, did note that the number of stu­dents as well as prospective faculty members looking to pursue a liberal arts edu­cation has increased over the past 15 years.

“A lot has changed,” Arnn said. “We have a lot more high-quality stu­dents than we can admit. We have a lot more appli­ca­tions for jobs than we can hire. We increas­ingly find as we search that we wish we could hire more than one person.”

Arnn also empha­sized that if the college does create a new location, the goal is to make it self-sus­tainable, so as not to divert funds from Hillsdale’s mission as a college. Two of the offers would make money off the land donated. The third is sup­ported by donors who have a high opinion of Hillsdale, but are not con­tributing finan­cially right now, he said.

“It would be sur­prising if it all comes together,” Arnn said. “It would be sur­prising, but by no means impos­sible, if none of it came together.”

Arnn pub­licly announced con­sid­er­ation of opening a new Hillsdale location during the Parents Weekend lun­cheon on March 17. At the time, he specif­i­cally men­tioned one in Cal­i­fornia because the man making one of the offers was present at the time.

Con­sid­er­ation for a satellite location comes with good timing, as the college cur­rently is devel­oping plans and goals for the next five years. In that, Arnn said he is opti­mistic about the future and is aware the college has been for­tunate in the success of some of its endeavors that were not always a guar­antee.

Arnn teased that in about a year, he expects the school to launch another major fundraising effort. He said the college is laying out its steps to do that now.

“We’ve never been rich enough to ask the question: ‘What might you do?’” Arnn said. “It’s ‘What do you need to do for the excel­lence of the college?’”

For that reason, a new location affil­iated with Hillsdale is under con­sid­er­ation, Arnn said.

“I don’t think we’re going to make a decision about this,” he said. “I think we’re going to dis­cover whether it is a thing to do or not.”

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Wow, that cer­tainly is a chal­lenging issue. Hope­fully it’s being eval­uated by the entire Board of Trustees, all of us are smarter than any one of us. I’d like to read more about this, Ms. Noble. Keep us posted, please.