Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence (photo: Wiki­media Commons)

Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence’s will­ingness to speak at a small liberal arts school in a vir­tually unknown southern Michigan town is incredible, and we should be grateful to meet him.

Pence embodies the values we hold highly at Hillsdale College, and he makes our day of cel­e­bration even bigger than it already is.

Last summer, I had the dis­tinct honor to intern in the Office of the Vice Pres­ident, and I had several encounters with the Vice Pres­ident himself. Each time I spoke with him, I was struck by his humility, his con­fi­dence, and his sin­cerity, and I fully trust that he will approach his com­mencement address with the same humility, con­fi­dence, and sin­cerity that pervade all of his per­sonal inter­ac­tions.

Pence already demon­strated his under­standing of the con­ser­vatism that Hillsdale stu­dents claim to defend — a con­ser­vatism that tran­scends political affil­i­ation — when he spoke here in 2010.

“[Pres­i­dential dignity] depends entirely upon char­acter, self-dis­ci­pline, and an under­standing of the fun­da­mental prin­ciples that underlie not only the republic, but life itself,” Pence said in the speech he gave at Hillsdale College on “The Pres­i­dency and the Con­sti­tution.”  “We can still astound the world with justice, reason, and strength. I know this is true, but even if it was not we could not in decency stand down, if only for our debt to history. We owe a debt to those who came before.”

Pence under­stands the mag­nitude of con­serving the eternal and uni­versal truths that our pre­de­cessors have passed down to us. His pol­itics adhere to these prin­ciples, but his con­ser­vatism sur­passes the realm of laws and leaks. Before and after gar­nering national attention, Mike Pence  openly and unashamedly defended the Christian faith, even in the face of crit­icism from political pundits and jour­nalists. From advo­cating for the pro-life movement, to revealing that he prays with his family every morning, to defending his per­sonal con­viction not to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not his wife, Mike Pence has proven that he is a man of strong faith and deep con­viction. As a student body that values faith, we should con­sider it a priv­ilege to host a com­mencement speaker who defends his faith to the extent that Mike Pence does.

Pence under­stands and exem­plifies the tra­dition and per­manent prin­ciples we revere at Hillsdale College. Pence is a good man, and it will be an honor to walk across the stage and shake his hand on the day of our grad­u­ation.

Some say a speech from Mike Pence will tie Hillsdale College even more closely to the Trump admin­is­tration than it already is. Whether or not you support the Trump admin­is­tration that Mike Pence rep­re­sents is totally your call, but if you believe that Hillsdale College is defined by the people who speak here, then you have a weak-minded view of the impact this school has. I believe Hillsdale College is strong enough to stand on its own merit. Through our Hillsdale edu­cation, we learn how to think, read, write, and speak effec­tively, and this is why Hillsdale stu­dents graduate and do amazing things — whether it’s starting their own small business, attending medical school, running for public office, or accepting a teaching position at a clas­sical school.

The identity of this college is found in the edu­cation we are given here and in what we do with that edu­cation, not in who the class of 2018’s com­mencement speaker is. A good com­mencement speaker is a leader who exem­plifies the char­acter Hillsdale stu­dents should aspire to and the values the school holds dear. Pence does this, but even if this were not the case, I believe the rep­u­tation Hillsdale has because of the stu­dents who graduate from here far out­weighs the impact of one com­mencement speaker, even if he is the Vice Pres­ident of the United States.

Grad­u­ation will be inside instead of outside. People will have to wait in a security line for forty-five minutes. You don’t support the Trump admin­is­tration. So what?

Yes, the purpose of a grad­u­ation is to cel­e­brate the grad­uates and the work we have accom­plished in our four years at Hillsdale. A speech from the Vice Pres­ident at our com­mencement does not take away from the fact that this day exists to cel­e­brate the suc­cessful journey we have all traveled at Hillsdale College.

Hillsdale teaches stu­dents more than aca­d­emics. Hillsdale is founded on Judeo-Christian values, values that Mike Pence shares, and if we ascribe to those values, we’ll treat him as an unde­niably upright man who wants to encourage us to take our Hillsdale edu­cation and do great things with it.

Macy Mount is a senior studying pol­itics.

  • Penny Swan

    Well said!

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    VP Mike Pence is a great speaker for Hillsdale College, the stu­dents should be honored to have him. You don’t even have to be a Repub­lican to be honored that the VP of the United States is speaking at your com­mencement. Unfor­tu­nately, the times being what they are and the oppo­sition being what it is I’m con­fident there will be the usual handful of pro­testers trying to make some sort of statement. And they’ll succeed in making a statement, but not the one they intended.