12 Comments

Hillsdale has been immensely successful in marketing itself as the One True College to an older generation of conservatives. I have had many conversations with people at other conservative colleges who express frustration at Hillsdale's having sucked all the air out of the room when it comes to fundraising.

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Contra this article, I had assumed that Grove City WAS taking the same basic approach as Hillsdale, and just not getting the same results, whether due to worse execution or factors beyond its control. Where am I wrong?

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According to First Things, Belmont Abbey is also doing well:

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2024/02/the-secret-to-college-success

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In the south I feel like there are many good hillsdale-esque options. In Texas , conservative students aspire to a&m , SMU, Baylor, u of Dallas, or the military academies

I don’t love acceptance rate as the metric cause all of those schools could have a low acceptance rate if they wanted to limit enrollment

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You mentioned how Hillsdale and Christ Church are dependent on singular leaders. If Christian brain drain towards large hostile institutions dries up, there'll probably be a lot more talent available to invest in local projects. So far, many elite Christians have liked to "build on someone else's foundation" in high-prestige urban settings as Paul says rather than take the George Bailey route of becoming local elite.

I hope the book redirects Christians to local leadership and local investment! I wrote a review of it at my new page: https://www.brandonjoa.com/p/becoming-an-uncancellable-witness

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Aaron - in the urbanism world, how about Seaside, FL and the communities of 30a as a one-off? While they inspired a generation of new towns and traditional neighborhood developments, there's no been no replication of Seaside/30a anywhere in terms of a walkable, resort community with lasting impact and success.

I was talking recently with a colleague about why we haven't seen more growth in greenfield new urbanist projects the last 2-3 decades. IMO, a lot of it suffers from what you describe - these efforts are incredibly hard, take immense persistence, and are generally driven by an individual or 2-3 people at most that have the passion and staying power for it. For most developers, it's just too hard.

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Before there was Larry Arnn, there was George Roche, who like Arnn, was a fundraising powerhouse and turned Hillsdale into a Mecca for movement conservatism. Roche and Arnn are the one-two punch that made Hillsdale unique. Roche made Hillsdale so strong, it was not much harmed by the bizarre scandal that abruptly ended Roche's tenure.

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I admire and financially support Hillsdale because of their outreach. I have taken several of their free on-line courses which are almost always great. Other colleges could do the same thing; however, their content will need to fit a need which Hillsdale does. Outreach content that is focused on trivial subjects won't get supported in my mind.

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