Madison Moore, 2018 graduate, now works for Dr.Arnn in the pres­i­dent’s office. Madison Moore | Courtesy

When Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn asked Madi Moore, “What is pru­dence?” during her junior year, he was so pleased with her answer he told her she could be a pro­fessor of Aris­totle.

Now, as a 2018 graduate, Moore has taken on the position of exec­utive assistant to the pres­ident in June, replacing Vic­toria Bergen, who held the position since 2011.

Arnn said Moore was chosen after “an extensive search that pro­duced several promising can­di­dates.”

“My own appre­ci­ation of her began with the look in her eye,” Arnn said in an email. “It is not easy for work to be fun, but it is important that it be. She has the look of willing and ready about her, a sense of adventure.”

Moore grew up in Adrian, Michigan, about a 45-minute drive from Hillsdale. She attended Hillsdale Academy in the first and second grades and even­tually chose to attend Hillsdale College after com­paring it with other small liberal arts schools.

“I was looking for a chal­lenge, and a lot of the schools that I was looking at that had the right profile, which was all in liberal arts and inter­dis­ci­plinary, didn’t advertise their aca­demic rigor; it wasn’t at the fore­front of their pri­or­ities,” Moore said. “And for Hillsdale it clearly was.”

Moore took interest in phi­losophy for a time, but even­tually settled on an English major. After taking a Great Books class with Pro­fessor of English Ben Whalen, she and a friend wanted to maintain their acquain­tance with him, so Whalen sug­gested they all read a couple novels over the summer and meet back in the fall to discuss them.

“It became a tra­dition. At first we just kind of stopped by his office. Then next year we went out to a picnic table on campus and talked about the books we read, then we went to dinner at his house with Mrs. Whalen too, which was won­derful. It was such a great witness to what’s so great about Hillsdale — the way that edu­cation sur­passes the classroom.”

Another favorite memory was the time she and Meghan Perks ’18 planned an Aquinas-themed scav­enger hunt for their friend and classmate, Trinity Wright ’17 after they all struggled together through a par­tic­u­larly chal­lenging course, “Aquinas on God.”

“We created a question in the Aquinas style, and it was ‘Whether Trinity is the best of all friends,’ and then we enlisted a bunch of friends of hers and pro­fessors she had gotten to know well throughout her college career to offer up responses to that question, such as ‘It must be true that Trinity is the best of all friends because, XYZ’… She loved it and we had a great time planning it.”

In addition to her English major, Moore minored in Latin, played per­cussion and violin, par­tic­i­pated in the wind sym­phony and chamber orchestra, and joined Pi Beta Phi, serving as vice pres­ident of finance during the 2015 cal­endar year. She also studied abroad in Oxford and interned in the history office at NASA head­quarters through the Wash­ington-Hillsdale Internship Program.

Two months before grad­u­ation in the spring of 2018, Moore suf­fered a rock-climbing accident that frac­tured her right leg and arm, forcing her to undergo surgery to sta­bilize her bones with titanium rods. She returned to her home in Adrian and had to dis­con­tinue her studies through the rest of the semester.

Con­fined to a wheel­chair, Moore made it her goal to be able to walk across the stage at grad­u­ation. A week before the cer­emony, she began using a cane for short dis­tances and then received her diploma — on her own two feet — and com­pleted her final courses over the summer.

Moore recently did away with the cane, fin­ished therapy for her lower body, and said she hopes to start running again soon. (Moore would some­times run 10 miles “cold” during stressful moments in the semester and even par­tic­i­pated in a triathlon during her junior year of college.)

As she con­tinues to recover, Moore says she has enjoyed her new position in the president’s office so far. She worked in the office as a student writer during her junior and senior year under Insti­tu­tional Advancement Assistant Stevi Nichols, who rec­om­mended she apply for the exec­utive position.

“Her maturity and com­pe­tence allowed for us to trust her with projects of higher impor­tance,” Nichols said. “Madison is both orga­nized and pro­fes­sional, and her steady calmness is an incredible asset for her current position. I have great faith in her ability to serve with excel­lence in the president’s office.”

Moore says Arnn is “exces­sively” busy and has the kind of job it “doesn’t seem like you can take a vacation from.” While shad­owing Bergen, she learned several helpful strategies for man­aging his schedule.

“She really impressed upon me the impor­tance of carving out time for Dr. Arnn to be a human being and not just the pres­ident,” Moore said. “She was always so inten­tional about respecting his time in that regard and that is some­thing I will remember.”

Moore said the thing that really has made the job “out­standing” so far is Arnn himself.

“I have never had the pleasure of taking a full-term class with him, but working with him, I’ve really come to under­stand that he is a wholly-prin­cipled, just, prudent, thoughtful, con­sid­erate indi­vidual, and it’s an honor to work for him. He’s a great man, and I think that’s really the thing that makes the job delightful.”

Though Arnn chal­lenged her in the past with ques­tions like “what is pru­dence?” Moore said things changed when she grad­uated.

“I think Dr. Arnn likes to ask that question because he wants people to think about it,” she said. “Once you’ve grad­uated from Hillsdale, you’ve kind of proven, to an extent at least, that you are equipped to think about it on your own.”