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On Dec. 7, Hillsdale College will be hosting its first ever Founding Fest for stu­dents and faculty. Courtesy | Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College offi­cially turned 175 years old yes­terday, and members of its com­munity will have an oppor­tunity to cel­e­brate the college’s her­itage through Founding Fest this weekend.

This is an important time of cel­e­bration for stu­dents of the past, present, and future to reflect on the college’s tra­dition in the pursuit of virtue throughout its history. Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College was the first American college to pro­hibit in its charter any dis­crim­i­nation based on race, religion, or sex. It was the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal-arts degrees to women. During the Civil War, a higher per­centage of Hillsdale stu­dents enlisted com­pared to other col­leges. As a prominent force in the abo­lition of slavery, the college wel­comed Fred­erick Dou­glass and Edward Everett to speak in the 1860s. In the 1970s, the college began its defense against “encroach­ments on its inde­pen­dence” and refused to accept federal tax­payer money.

Today, the college shares its values with more than 4.3 million Amer­icans through its monthly speech digest, “Imprimis.” Hillsdale pro­fessors and stu­dents embrace the tra­dition of cul­ti­vating and pre­serving moral and intel­lectual virtues because they know that “strength rejoices in the chal­lenge.”

Few col­leges in the country give their stu­dents the oppor­tunity to examine America’s founding doc­u­ments and engage with the prin­ciples that turned 13 colonies into one nation under God. Even fewer col­leges ask their stu­dents to think about the unchanging truths of human exis­tence and what these truths mean for self-gov­ernment.

This year, in par­ticular, the college has many reasons to cel­e­brate its tra­dition fol­lowing the ded­i­cation of Christ Chapel — a sacred space for the college’s com­munity to gather and rec­ognize shared beliefs. Hillsdale College con­tinues to be one of the only insti­tu­tions of higher edu­cation that remains true to its founding prin­ciples, and it is both an honor and a duty of its com­munity to pre­serve its tra­dition throughout the future.

Let this be a time for the com­munity of Hillsdale College to cel­e­brate 175 years of laboring for freedom and embrace the ongoing mission to defend liberty.