Hillsdale College stu­dents pose with VP Mike Pence. Dennis Fasset | Courtesy

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.” 

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.