Larry P. Arnn

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Larry Paul Arnn has served as the twelfth president of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States since May 2000.[1][2][3][4][5]

He is a political conservative and a constitutional scholar in the mold of Leo Strauss and his teacher Harry V. Jaffa.[6]


Born in Pocahontas, Arkansas, Arnn received his B.A. (1974) in Political Science and Accounting from Arkansas State University.[1][3][4] He earned graduate degrees in Government from Claremont Graduate School — an M.A. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1985.[1][3][4] Arnn studied in England from 1977 to 1980, at the London School of Economics studying International History and then at Worcester College, Oxford University in Modern History.[3][4] While in England, he worked as Director of Research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill.[1][3]

In 1980, Arnn become an editor for Public Research, Syndicated in the United States.[1] He was one of four founders of the Claremont Institute in Claremont, California, and served as its president from 1985 to 2000.[2][4][5] In 2000, he was named the twelfth president of Hillsdale College.[5] In this capacity, he set the ambitious goal of $400 million for the college's Founders Campaign, beginning in 2001, and under his watch, several new buildings have arisen on the campus.

Arnn has been a trustee of the conservative Heritage Foundation since 2002.[2] In 2012 it offered its presidency to Arnn, who decided to stay in academe instead.[7]

Arnn also sits on the boards of directors of the Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World at Claremont McKenna College, the Center for Individual Rights, and the Claremont Institute.[1] He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the Churchill Centre, and the Philanthropy Roundtable.[1]

Discussing politics at Hillsdale, Arnn remarked, "If you take the reading of an old book on the view that it's valuable, you have already discarded the modern Left."[8]


"Dark Ones" Comment

In 2013 Larry Arnn was criticized for his remarks about ethnic minorities when he testified before the Michigan State Legislature. In testimony against the Common Core curriculum standards, in which Arnn expressed concern about government interference with educational institutions, he recalled that shortly after he assumed the presidency at Hillsdale he received a letter from the state Department of Education that said his college "violated the standards for diversity," adding, "because we didn't have enough dark ones, I guess, is what they meant." After being criticized for calling minorities "dark ones", he explained that he was referring to "dark faces", saying: "The State of Michigan sent a group of people down to my campus, with clipboards ... to look at the colors of people’s faces and write down what they saw. We don’t keep records of that information. What were they looking for besides dark ones?"[9] Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel condemned Arnn for his comments, which he called "offensive" and "inflammatory and bigoted", and asked for an apology.[10] The College issued a statement apologizing for Arnn's remark, while reiterating Arnn's concern about "state sponsored racism" in the form of affirmative action policies.[11]


  • Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education (2004)
  • The Founders' Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Hillsdale College faculty page
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Thomas Nelson webpage[dead link]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 John Locke Foundation webpage
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Claremont Institute webpage
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  7. Tim Mak, "Heritage Foundation gets tough: Think tank puts punch behind its conservative ideas," Washington Examiner Sept. 13, 2013
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