Joy Pullmann ’09, exec­utive editor of The Fed­er­alist receives Dis­tin­guished Alumni Award on Friday
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Former Col­legian editor-in-chief and 2009 graduate Joy Pullmann received the Dis­tin­guished Alumna Award for Achievement in Jour­nalism at the 70th Annual Alumni Awards Banquet on Sept. 24.

“Thank you to Dr. Arnn and the college for this honor,” said Pullmann, who is exec­utive editor of The Fed­er­alist, an online news pub­li­cation. “I don’t know that I deserve it, but I’ll do my best to use your name well.” 

Pullmann, who lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, grad­uated with an English major and jour­nalism concentration. 

Pullmann said she  loved to write from an early age — and knew she wanted to write for the rest of her life.

“I was going to college to be edu­cated, to take the talent that I had, and make the most of it. I had a gut feeling that Hillsdale was where I would get the best edu­cation,” Pullmann said in a video pre­pared for the event. “What I loved about reporting in college was being a conduit for other peo­ple’s stories: How do you get people inter­ested, how do you make sure it’s orga­nized clearly, all those kinds of bits about grammar.”

Her ground­breaking research and reporting on school cur­riculum has pro­pelled Pullmann to the fore­front of edu­cation reform and solid­ified her jour­nal­istic success.

“I was one of the ear­liest people to even pay any attention to this thing called Common Core,” Pullmann said. “I hap­pened to be someone just doing basic jour­nalism, when no other outlets were doing basic jour­nalism on this thing that really needed to com­pletely overhaul a nation­alized American edu­cation — I got a huge fol­lowing, huge amount of read­ership, and that turned into a book.”

The book, “The Edu­cation Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” came out in 2017. Pullmann described it as a grass­roots inves­ti­gation into a “fed­er­alized edu­cation scheme,” which left children less edu­cated and more controlled.

In 2014, Pullmann was awarded the esteemed Robert Novak Jour­nalism Fel­lowship for her reporting on edu­cation. Pull­man’s clas­sical, home-school roots inspired her to rally for a better version of the popular curriculum.

“People need to be more edu­cated. Edu­cation is the for­mation of the human soul, and the kind of souls that you have in your country determine whether it can be self-gov­erning,” she said. “I want my children to be self-gov­erning, I want their neighbors to be self-governing.”

So, Pullmann and her husband Nathaniel ’09 started Redeemer Clas­sical School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2016. What was once a one-room school­house is now a four-room school­house, where Nathaniel serves as headmaster.

Pullmann, a mother of six, gets out of bed at 5:30 a.m., edits around 6,000 words between 6 – 8 a.m., answers emails, then heads to the kitchen to care for her six children. 

“I get a lot of ques­tions from young women: How do you do it?” Pullmann said in the video. “I say, ‘try not to.’”

In addition to her work at The Fed­er­alist, Pullmann is a research fellow for edu­cation policy at the Heartland Institute and con­tributes to the New York Times, the Wash­ington Examiner, and National Review.  She has appeared on numerous news shows, such as “Fox and Friends” and the “John Stossel Show.” 

“When you have a heart com­mitted to things that are good, for me, it’s really gotten me through a lot,” Pullmann said. “Doing all the things that I do, it’s a battle the whole time. You don’t have the heart to fight without someone having shown you what’s worth fighting for. That’s what I got from my classes at Hillsdale — they taught me what to love.”

Despite her busy schedule and extensive resume, Pullmann said she’s able to remain grounded in goodness, largely due to her Hillsdale education. 

“I feel like Hillsdale is a shining city on the hill. It’s this beau­tiful place that is so unlike almost every­where else that we have in the world,” she said. “Right when I wished I could go back and do it all over again.”

Before receiving the award, Pullmann met with jour­nalism stu­dents in the office of The Col­legian, offering advice on every­thing from breaking into the media to bal­ancing the oblig­a­tions of work and home.

Other award recip­ients included Jared Veldheer ’09, Ron Gladnick ’83, and Howard Smith ’68, for their achieve­ments in pro­fes­sional ath­letics, entre­pre­neurship and lead­ership, and business man­agement, respectively.