Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke about the founding ideals on Tuesday. Lily McHale | Collegian

Hillsdale’s Con­sti­tution Day Cel­e­bration fea­tured speeches with a theme of vig­i­lance for the future of the country and preser­vation of the founding ideals embodied in the Constitution. 

The event, which is held annually in Wash­ington, D.C., was at the Trump Inter­na­tional Hotel. Speakers dis­cussed election integrity, civil lib­erties, recov­ering American greatness, and the rise of China, all empha­sizing that it will take courage to pre­serve America’s founding ideals. 

Tuesday, the first day of the cel­e­bration, involved dinner, remarks from Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn, and a key­stone speech from Mark Meadows, chief of staff for former Pres­ident Donald Trump. The cel­e­bration con­cluded Wednesday afternoon with final speeches, panels, and a luncheon. 

More than 450 guests attended from all over the country, including faculty, staff, alumni, stu­dents, and sup­porters of the college.

Since the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Con­sti­tu­tional Studies and Cit­i­zenship opened in 2010, the college has hosted an annual Con­sti­tution Day Cel­e­bration to com­mem­orate the signing of the U.S. Con­sti­tution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Each year, the program explores the con­tinuing rel­e­vance of the Founders’ Con­sti­tution for American pol­itics today.

Mark Meadows, a senior partner at the Con­ser­v­ative Part­nership Institute, gave an address titled “Is Election Integrity a Thing of the Past?” on Tuesday night. He encouraged those in atten­dance to take action in today’s political climate.

“What we lack in D.C. is not the right policy or piece of leg­is­lation. We lack the courage to get it done,” Meadows said. “It is time for coura­geous men and women to stand up for the Con­sti­tution and their country.”

Meadows dis­cussed what the country should expect with pres­i­dential and con­gres­sional elec­tions going forward. Regarding the 2020 pres­i­dential election, Meadows said he believes it was not entirely fair and proper.

“There’s enough evi­dence out there to suggest oth­erwise,” Meadows said.

At the Con­ser­v­ative Part­nership Institute, Meadows and his staff are devel­oping a handbook for election account­ability, making it easy to vote and hard to cheat, he said. Their mission is to train vol­un­teers to rec­ognize election fraud and spend time mon­i­toring their local ballot boxes during election seasons. If fraud is hap­pening on the local level, CPI fights it at the local level.

Meadows con­cluded his speech with a story about his trip to the White House with Trump in “The Beast,” the armored car of the pres­ident of the United States. He related his expe­rience to the greater American dream, made pos­sible by the prin­ciples of equality in the Constitution. 

“Only in America can a nobody from nowhere ride with the most pow­erful person on the face of the globe,” Meadows said.

The Con­sti­tution Day Cel­e­bration is an occasion to bring together like-minded people who are pas­sionate about America and its founding, according to Jen­nifer Lessnau, Under­graduate Program Coor­di­nator at the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center.

“Having alumni and friends of the college join together in cel­e­brating Hillsdale and its mission is always an exciting time,” Lessnau said.

Jack Rowe, a senior George Wash­ington Fellow who gave the invo­cation and pledge at Tuesday night’s dinner, said he was honored to take part in the event.

 “To have a chance to interact with nationally-known scholars and meet people from all walks of life who love our insti­tution and love what it stands for cer­tainly puts things into per­spective,” Rowe said.