Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn received the states­manship award at the Claremont Institute last week. Courtesy| Kirstin Gadiel

Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn has pre­sented the Claremont Institute States­manship Award to Pres­ident Ronald Reagan, British Prime Min­ister Mar­garet Thatcher, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — but on Oct. 24, he was its recipient at a gala in Santa Monica, California.

“These are old friends from an insti­tution that I helped to build, and so of course I’m very proud,” Arnn said in an email.

Arnn co-founded the Cal­i­fornia-based Claremont Institute in 1979 and served as its pres­ident before his arrival in Hillsdale.

“How far they have fallen, giving it to me,” Arnn joked. 

Other winners of the award have included Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑Texas), Asso­ciate Justice Samuel Alito, con­ser­v­ative talk radio host Rush Lim­baugh, and Sec­retary of State Mike Pompeo. 

The institute honored Arnn for his work in restoring con­sti­tu­tional prin­ciples in America. 

“Dr. Arnn is a tireless insti­tution builder, edu­cator, and public-spirited leader in a time of great crisis. After a century of pro­gres­sivism, we must restore and per­petuate the con­di­tions for con­sti­tu­tion­alism and self-gov­ernment in America,” Pres­ident of the Claremont Institute and 2004 Hillsdale alumnus Ryan Williams said. “We Amer­icans have the good fortune to take up that task together after the prospects for that restoration have been improved con­sid­erably by decades of Dr. Arnn’s work.”

American mil­itary his­torian Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Insti­tution and dis­tin­guished vis­iting fellow of history at Hillsdale College, won the award in 2006. As master of cer­e­monies this year, he pre­sented the award to Arnn. 

“Dr. Arnn created a mul­ti­faceted Hillsdale College renais­sance — a new, pow­er­fully enlarged endowment, a com­pletely new physical plant, restruc­tured faculty com­pen­sation and teaching loads leading to renew faculty excel­lence and morale, and expanded the Hillsdale con­sti­tu­tional message across a number of plat­forms: online courses, videos, social media, pod­casts, retreats, and newsletters,” Hanson said in an email. 

Hanson also praised Arnn for remaining “a pre­dictably con­sti­tu­tionally con­ser­v­ative voice when many about him in 2016 to 2020 lost their heads and their bearings.”

“The Hillsdale brand became a source of con­ser­v­ative reas­surance and steadiness in an increas­ingly frag­mented and apostate con­ser­v­ative world of chaos and division — largely due to Dr. Arnn’s lead­ership and common sense, grounded in long study of the Con­sti­tution,” Hanson said. 

Though Arnn remained humble in receiving the award, he said the work being done at the college may have some­thing to do with it. 

“Probably they had in mind that to follow the Con­sti­tution requires one under­stand it and see its merits, and we here teach those things,” Arnn said.