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Then-Con­gressman Mike Pence, R-Indiana, speaks on “The Pres­i­dency and the Con­sti­tution” on Sept. 20, 2010, in Phillips Audi­torium. Hillsdale College | Courtesy

Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence has accepted an invi­tation to deliver Hillsdale College’s com­mencement address, The Col­legian exclu­sively has learned.

“We are proud to have Pence, a man of prin­cipled public service, of strong con­sti­tu­tional views, and of deep faith at our campus,” College Pres­ident Larry Arnn said in a statement. “We are glad to have him back for this cul­mi­nating cer­emony of college life.”

Hillsdale is expected to make a public announcement today about Pence’s address to the class of 2018 for its 166th com­mencement cer­emony at 2 p.m. on May 12 in the Biermann Ath­letics Center. His selection marks the end of a more than eight-month search by the senior class officers and the college president’s office for a com­mencement speaker.

“We get a speaker who in his public life, private life, and spir­itual life embodies what we strive for here at Hillsdale College,” Senior Class Pres­ident Razi Lane told The Col­legian. “Mike Pence cap­tures our mission, as a father, husband, Christian, and leader of this country. I couldn’t think of a better person to address the senior class than Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence.”

Although Pence’s speech at Hillsdale would mark his first visit to the college as vice pres­ident, he pre­vi­ously spoke on “The Pres­i­dency and the Con­sti­tution” on Sept. 20, 2010, in Phillips Audi­torium, as a con­gressman. Less than a year later on April 16, 2011, he par­tic­i­pated in a town hall on “Eco­nomic Liberty and the Con­sti­tution” at the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship in Wash­ington, D.C.

For awhile, Hillsdale has hoped to bring Pence to campus. Arnn said he told Pence he wanted him to speak at the ded­i­cation cer­emony of the Christ Chapel in 2019, because he “is a dig­nified figure and serious about his faith.” This year’s senior class officers, however, con­vinced him to invite the vice pres­ident to campus early.

Prior to Pres­ident Donald Trump selecting Pence as his running mate in July 2016, the 48th vice pres­ident of the United States served as the 50th gov­ernor of Indiana from 2013 – 2017. He imple­mented the largest tax cuts in the state’s history and advo­cated for more funding of preschools, voucher pro­grams, and charter schools.

Before that, Pence was in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives beginning in 2001. By 2008, Esquire mag­azine named him in the top 10 best members of Con­gress because his “unal­loyed tra­di­tional con­ser­vatism ha[d] repeatedly pitted him against his party elders.”

Although Pence has made his way in Wash­ington, D.C., he is a Midwest native, born and raised in Columbus, Indiana. Addi­tionally, he attended Indiana’s Hanover College, a private, liberal arts insti­tution like Hillsdale.

After briefly serving as an admis­sions coun­selor at Hanover, Pence attended the Indiana Uni­versity Robert H. McK­inney School of Law in Indi­anapolis and earned his juris doctor. He prac­ticed law and then ran unsuc­cess­fully for Con­gress in 1988 and 1990. He later worked as pres­ident of the Indiana Policy Review Foun­dation, a state think tank, and had his own syn­di­cated radio talk show and weekly tele­vised public affairs program.

Pence grew up as a Roman Catholic and was a Democrat early in life. During college, however, he became an evan­gelical Christian and found himself being swayed by the “common-sense con­ser­vatism of Ronald Reagan.”

After Pence spoke at Hillsdale in 2010, the college pub­lished his speech in the fol­lowing month’s issue of Imprimis. In it, he dis­cussed his view of states­manship and argues for a limited gov­ernment and a strong mil­itary.

“Power is an instrument of fatal con­se­quence,” Pence said in the speech. “It is con­fined no more readily than quick­silver, and escapes good inten­tions as easily as air flows through mesh. Therefore, those who are entrusted with it must educate them­selves in self-restraint. A republic is about lim­i­tation, and for good reason, because we are mortal and our actions are imperfect.”

Lane said the senior class officers spoke with many of their peers, dis­cussing with them what they would like to see in a com­mencement speaker. For him, Pence is a per­sonal hero, and he said he is proud and honored that Pence will address his senior class with the help of Arnn and his office.

“His track record is one of prin­ciples and rea­sonable con­ser­vatism,” Lane said. “Chiefly, I admire him for his civility and respect in every issue he engages. He is extremely respectful and cordial. There’s a careful balance, and he hits it right on.”
Tickets to the com­mencement cer­emony will be available only for grad­uates and their fam­ilies, Hillsdale employees, and friends of the college.

As stu­dents have waited with antic­i­pation to learn who will be the last to address the class of 2018, Lane said he hopes stu­dents will be thankful and eager to share the stage with Pence next month.

“My prayer has been the speaker we get is worth the wait,” Lane said. “From my per­spective, the selection of Vice Pres­ident Pence has been absolutely worth the wait.”

 

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble
  • Sandy Daze

    Great choice !

  • Breana Noble, here’s your chance for some inves­tigative jour­nalism. Find out if Mike Pence is putting together a exploratory com­mittee to run for Pres­ident of the United States in 2020.

    Great article btw!

  • Natasha Crall

    “Power is an instrument of fatal con­se­quence,” Pence said in the speech. “It is con­fined no more readily than quick­silver, and escapes good inten­tions as easily as air flows through mesh. Therefore, those who are entrusted with it must educate them­selves in self-restraint. A republic is about lim­i­tation, and for good reason, because we are mortal and our actions are imperfect.”

    Perhaps he should share that tidbit with his boss, who is the antithesis of “self-restraint.” Inter­esting per­spective, all things con­sidered. Hyp­o­critical to support what has occured in this admin­is­tration if that is TRULY how he thinks…

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      And Hillary Clinton embodied ‘self-restraint’ and ‘good inten­tions’ in your book? The election in 2016, like all elec­tions, boiled down to a choice between two imperfect people. Trump is bom­bastic, ego­tis­tical and cer­tainly lacking in self-restraint-but everyone knew that from the beginning. Cer­tainly he never denied it. The Clintons-Bill and Hillary-have sold influence and access ever since Bill first walked in the White House, only a fool would deny it. When it came down to crunch time the voters pre­ferred bom­bastic to corrupt. Way it is.

      • Natasha Crall

        Hillary Clinton and any party argument is irrel­evant to Pence’s hypocrisy here. Nice try…but you aren’t excusing his short­comings by com­plaining about other politi­cians and unre­lated issues. He made a statement that stands in direct oppo­sition to the behavior of this admin­is­tration in mul­tiple regard.

        • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

          I con­trasted the two choices in the last election. You obvi­ously voted for criminal and corrupt Hillary. Sorry if I embar­rassed you by drawing that out, but there it is. The Dems lost the last election by nom­i­nating a non-viable indi­vidual.

          • Natasha Crall

            Evi­dently, you do not com­prehend that your com­plaining about Hillary as well as your assumption about my vote both have nothing to do with Pence’s hypocrisy in his afore­men­tioned quote when one con­siders the behavior of this admin­is­tration. Embar­rassed? Lol By your attempted deflection and my sub­se­quent returning to the point, which has nothing to do with any of your ram­bling? Try again. I’m not engaging in off topic detraction. What do you think about the cog­nitive dis­so­nance between Pence’s words and the actual behavior of the Trump admin­is­tration? I am not a Hillary fan by any stretch of the imag­i­nation, but she isn’t the topic. Pence is the topic.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Natasha, you’ll have to excuse Alexander. He’s a long dis­tance admirer and doesn’t get to see the local hypocrisy.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            I might live 3 houses down from you, how do you know?

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            Because you don’t and because all of the nuances a local would either know or be aware of. Plus with over 6000 posts on Discus if you were local you’d know who Natasha Crall is and wouldn’t have jumped to the con­clusion you did.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            Natasha? Moose and Squirrel will do us in again, dollink. Fearless Leader will not be happy.

          • Ellsworth_Toohey

            As I said, nuances. I rest my case.

          • Camus53

            Don’t feed the troll.

          • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

            ’ I’m not engaging in off topic detraction.’ You can run but you can’t hide.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    This is quite an accom­plishment for Hillsdale, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather hear speak at the Com­mencement than VP Pence. In a sordid place like Wash­ington DC he stands out owing to his char­acter and humility. Even folks who don’t care for Pres­ident Trump find little to crit­icize with VP Pence. Well done!

  • Wendy Stol­yarov

    As an alumna of the College, I’m dis­gusted, but unsur­prised.

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      Who would you prefer the college invite to give a com­mencement address, if they select a political figure?

  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    Shoot.… if Pence would stick around one more day it’s Red Indian Week.

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      Low blow.

      • Ellsworth_Toohey

        It’s called humor, and it wasn’t directed against Pence.

        • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

          My response was humor. ({; ^)}

  • George Gibbs

    Hillsdale might never have a problem attracting smart con­ser­v­a­tives and Chris­tians (stu­dents and donors alike), but the more that it politi­cizes itself, the more likely it is to attract stupid ones. And then the quality of the edu­cation will inevitably suffer. I wish this self-destruction would stop — how deeply I wish.

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      I don’t see Hillsdale College ‘politi­cizing them­selves’. Pence is the VP and a mild con­ser­v­ative and Christian. The college is not endorsing him, they are inviting him to give an address. Notre Dame invited Obama to do the same thing as Pres­ident, even though his abortion beliefs con­trast com­pletely with that of most Roman Catholics. Frankly, any time you can get a speaker of the VP’s level and accom­plish­ments to come to a small liberal arts college you’re doing a great job. I’m going to drive over and hear what the has to say.

      • George Gibbs

        Invi­ta­tions are not endorse­ments, but all col­leges have to know how these things look. And Hillsdale is cer­tainly politi­cizing itself by the recent years’ mailings I’ve seen: Those “surveys” ask obvi­ously pointed ques­tions, and mention politi­cians and parties BY NAME. At their worst they resemble the rants of a closeted lunatic. They resemble less and less the calm, careful instruction in wisdom I received in Hillsdale’s fine halls as a student. I know the college has to strate­gi­cally keep its donor out­reach and its clas­sical edu­cation prin­ciples in very sep­arate com­part­ments, but the imbalance between the two has become stag­gering. I am deeply con­cerned, and I’m far from the only alumnus to feel this way.

        • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

          If you want to see politi­cizing at it’s absolute worst read articles in the Harvard Crimson lately. Unfor­tu­nately, it’s part of higher edu­cation these days-but I agree with your point that Hillsdale needs to be cau­tious about assuming too aggressive a political stance. Still, I think VP Pence is a good ‘get’ for the com­mencement and I’m sure he’ll keep his com­ments from being too political.

        • Camus53

          The music at Hap­pydale died a long time ago. Now just a quasi-political school that Lim­baugh hawks on his radio show.
          Pence and all of his evan­gelical com­pa­triots rep­resent the worst of reli­gious hyp­ocrites. The worst!

          Gold­water, a true Con­ser­v­ative, father of Modern American Con­ser­vatism, warned a half century ago that the GOP courting the right wing reli­gious zealots would be the undoing of his Party. And he was correct!

          Will Trump & Co. now be the destroyers of evan­gel­i­calism, exposing the hypocrisy of these so called chris­tians?

          In any case, yes George I share your feelings about the college. A college that now brands itself christian-con­ser­v­ative and by so doing iso­lates and self dis­crim­i­nates against all others who think otherwise…or should I say …dare to even think.