Vice Pres­ident Mike Pence addressed the Hillsdale College Class of 2018 at Sat­ur­day’s com­mencement cer­emony. Col­legian // Brooke Conrad

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.