Andrew Fink ‘06 graduated from Hillsdale College 13 years ago, but echoes of his time at the ’Dale decorate his office: The G.K. Chesterton bust on the coffee table, the watercolor of Central Hall on the conference room wall. Fink’s alma mater won’t leave him.
Fink is one of the few alumni who have come back to Hillsdale to work in jobs unconnected with the college. Fink used his Hillsdale degree in politics to take six months to work on Rep. Tim Walberg’s campaign, and then another six months to play guitar in the Ann Arbor music scene before enrolling at University of Michigan law school.
“I’m not sure if I always wanted to be a lawyer. I always figured that I would,” Fink said. “It’s kind of the family business. Even though we don’t all work at the same firm, it’s just sort of the default setting for the Fink boys.”
In early 2011, he began active duty in the U.S. Marines following his graduation from law school in 2010. Upon coming off active duty in 2014, he joined Fink and Fink Attorneys and Counselors, working with his father, cousin, and uncle. After about three years in the Ann Arbor area, Fink moved his family from Ypsilanti to the Hillsdale area. He established a satellite office of his family’s law practice, Fink and Fink.
“I thought that when we got here we’d kind of have to say no to evenings on campus for events and talks, or that we’d get addicted going to the Sage for concerts,” Fink said. “That hasn’t happened. We didn’t get less busy here, so we don’t actually have that much more time. When we lived in Ypsi, we were on campus once or twice a semester. It’s probably one or two more times a semester now.”
Fink remembers his time at Hillsdale fondly. Just enough time has passed for campus culture to seem different, but Fink still recognizes the same core values in Hillsdale.
“It seems like it’s a never-ending set of interlocked friend groups,” Fink said. “There was never a shortage of someone to have a pleasant conversation with. That’s in much shorter supply out in the real world than it was as a Hillsdale student. Finding a good conversation was so easy here.”
While Fink had many good conversations with his fellow students at Hillsdale, he also connected with many of his professors. Fink and Professor of theology Nathan Schlueter became friends during Fink’s time as a student.
“We’ve stayed really personally close and I’ve always appreciated them as a couple,” Fink said. “The best analogy is an older brother for me and an older sister for Lauren, because they’re halfway between us and our parents.”
“I think Andrew and I both have something of a choleric temperament. Or we’re just German,” Schlueter said. “In any case, we also quickly discovered lot of common interests, in ideas, music — he’s a very talented musician with a great taste in music — politics, parenting, faith, etc.”
Schlueter also taught Fink’s wife Lauren while she was a student at Hillsdale. Schlueter and his wife are now godparents to Fink’s daughter, Evangeline.
“It was a delight to watch their relationship begin and grow, and to mentor them a bit,” Schlueter said. “Those two have a fun marriage of differences that is a source of inspiration and humor to those who know them.”
Fink himself serves as a sort of mentor as part of the Career Advising Committee for the Hillsdale College Alumni Association Board, working with Career Services.
“Andrew capably represents the views and interests of alumni from the early 2000s,” Director of the Alumni Association Board Grigor Hasted said in an email. “His background as an attorney makes him a particularly valuable resource for pre-law students in our mentoring program. He takes seriously his responsibilities to the board and he is a particularly articulate, influential, and well-respected contributor to board business.”
As a member of the Career Advising Committee, Fink has seen many students begin their professional careers. He says that while most students are well-liked by their employers, the committee hears one common criticism of Hillsdale grads.
“In some cases, the criticism I hear is that you’re spending too much time on ideas and not enough time emptying the trash,” he said. “I would never want to discourage Hillsdale kids from being the broad-minded and good-hearted people that they are. But embracing getting your fingernails dirty is part of being a successful worker.”