Vice President Mike Pence encouraged the graduating class of Hillsdale College at the school’s 166th commencement Saturday to have faith in themselves, God, and America, which President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing for them to thrive in, he said.
“The best news for all of you is that there are more job opportunities open in the country than ever before,” Pence said. “President Trump and the entire administration have been advancing the very principles that you learned here in the halls of Hillsdale College.”
Pence catalogued a list of the administration’s recent achievements, including its diplomacy efforts in North Korea and its decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem next Monday. These accomplishments are restoring worldwide belief in America’s strength, Pence said.
“Faith in America is rising once again,” he said.
According to College President Larry Arnn, Pence addressed the largest-ever crowd present at a Hillsdale commencement ceremony. The college also live-streamed the event to a nationwide audience.
Speaking to this crowd, Pence said Trump personally told him to congratulate the class of 2018 on their achievements. This remark received thunderous applause.
“This is an extraordinary group of men and women who have accomplished extraordinary things in their time here — and they have only just begun,” Pence said.
Pence won warm applause by referencing inside jokes of the college, promising that he wouldn’t ask graduates about “the Good” (as Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn often does) and reminding them of “that timeless wisdom once enshrined on that old sign on M‑99, ‘Hillsdale: It’s the People.’”
Pence also praised the school as a beacon for liberty and religious and political freedom.
“I have often marveled at Hillsdale College’s long and often lonely stand for freedom,” he said.
Pence said that since Trump has taken office, religious faith has enjoyed greater freedom in America. He cited Trump’s pro-life stance as an example.
“Faith is gaining new life across America,” he said to a sustained applause.
Pence made faith the focal point of his speech, exhorting the 367 students in the undergraduate class to have faith in God, their country, and their futures. He encouraged graduating students to “build little platoons” centered on Hillsdalian principles in their post-collegiate lives.
“Right after we get done making this nation great again, your generation will make America greater than ever before,” he said in conclusion.