Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Hillsdale College’s Constitution Day celebration in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Pence had positive words for Hillsdale, offering his and President Donald Trump’s support to the college and its efforts.
“They’re training the future leaders of America,” he said of the school.
The vice president took to Twitter following the dinner to say he was honored to spend Constitution Day with friends of Hillsdale College. He also said that the college is “an institution that has been a beacon of liberty for 175 years.”
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) September 18, 2019
Junior Dennis Fassett, who is currently in D.C. for the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program and interning for Atlas Network, spoke with the vice president and even took a photo with him.
“It was a complete surprise to everyone when he walked in the room,” Fassett said. “Even the students working the event didn’t know he was coming. After a brief speech, he walked through the crowd for a bit and I got to meet him. I didn’t know I would be meeting the vice president at a Tuesday night Hillsdale event, but it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had to date. It just goes to show that Hillsdale’s reach is far greater than just the sleepy Midwest town we call home.”
Julia Huebner, a senior interning for Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, also witnessed Vice President Pence’s visit. She echoed Fassett’s impression.
“He just dropped by to make an appearance and give an impromptu speech,” Huebner said. “It was amazing, we were starstruck for hours. Even when I woke up this morning it was so surreal. That’s not something that would’ve happened for most other schools.”
After Pence’s surprise visit, attendees gathered for dinner where they listened to remarks from Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn and Myron Magnet, editor at large for City Journal and author of “Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.”
Arnn’s remarks touched on the importance of the Constitution, and learning as a way of educating the soul.
“The form of the Constitution is a strict thing,” Arnn said. “It’s not that hard to understand, but it affects everything if you live under that. It makes you think differently about how you protect your own children or who has the right and authority to teach them. And that means s at stake right now. That’s exciting, although it’s also terrifying. We all have to do our part, and our part is to learn and to teach.”
Magnet spoke about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ strict originalism when it comes to interpreting the Constitution.
“I think he is our era’s most consequential jurist,” Magnet said. “He is a quiet army in himself doing tireless battle against the most corrosive forces in our current legal culture.”
Dun Scott, a supporter of the college, said he came to the dinner because he believes in the mission and the people of the school.
“Larry Arnn has a Rolls Royce mind,” Scott said. “We love everything the college is doing,”
Cathy Trauernicht, another supporter of the college, said she attended the dinner because the college is an inspiration to never give up.
“You realize there are many people who share your passion for the country and the Constitution,” Trauernicht said.
Huebner added that she enjoyed interacting with the guests.
“It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different places who value the Constitution and the work Hillsdale does,” she said. “We were able to speak with a few donors who really admired Hillsdale and traveled from out of town to be there as well as some people who live in the city.”
Recordings of the speeches are available on Hillsdale College’s Facebook page.
Stefan Kleinhenz contributed to this report.