tv Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn on Commencement Speakers CSPAN May 31, 2016 6:35am-6:41am EDT
hillsdale stepped in the best the bestd in traditions and principles of our great nation. example, not lead by who will? you will be the flight for others to follow, that city on the hill. may god bless each of you now and throughout your lives. and may god bless america, thank you. \[applause] >> our commencement special 2016nues, looking at 20 -- commencement speakers. we are joined by the president of hillsdale college in michigan, president since 2000.
the speaker at the graduation -- at the hill state graduation was supreme court justice clarence thomas. justice thomas does not speak that often in the court. what was your chief consideration in terms of having him speak there? what was your motivation? >> i know he doesn't actually like to do things like that. i have been reluctant to ask him. but he is often top of the list of our senior class. so this year, they talked me into it. maybe you are hurting his feelings by not asking him. i accused them of sauces him but i did write the letter -- i sophism, but i did write a letter.
>> was it the first time you had requested him to speak before the school, wheteher in a graduation setting or otherwise? larry: he spoke at my inauguration in 2000. he taught here for a week one time, here for another occasion. this was the first time i asked him for commencement. it will be a very long time before i can ask him again. >> what do you think the graduates learn most from justice thomas? what did they get out of his speech? larry: it was a beautiful commencement speech, in my opinion, commencement speeches, their theme, is how to live a good life. the obvious thing to call to it, termination, leaving the college. but commencement is not about that. it is about how they live their lives. justice thomas's advice, very beautiful and well rendered, how to be a good, successful, and happy person by living the right kind of life. >> we last saw justice thomas speak at the funeral services for justice antonin scalia. did he talk about that at all, either before the graduates or
with your conversation with him? larry: both. early in his commencement remarks, he paid extensive tribute to justice sc -- scalia. he was here from friday to sunday, and quite a lot in conversation, admired him, they were very close. he misses him, terribly. >> the headline in the huffington post, a quick note, justice thomas tells graduates "do not hide your faith and your beliefs." tell us about how that... larry: our college was founded by abolitionist christians, very interested by constitutional forms, faith. you have to know greek and latin to enter the college, back then. our college had a big part in the civil war, helped to invent the republican party. frederick douglas, who i
regard as the spiritual predecessor of clarence thomas, spoke on the campus twice. we always valued those things, faith and integrity makes for a good life. >> back to the selection of justice thomas and the selection of the speaker in general, you pretty much hit the a-list. how you top that for the class of 2017? larry: it was a glorious day. the best i have seen, and i have been here long time. i felt like after the conquest of carthage, he knelt down and wept. -- what is there left to do. >> president of hillsdale college, thank you for being with us. >> pleasure. our next washington
journal, whether nutrition labels make a difference in changing people's eating habits. richard williams will join us. then, a conversation with writer jacket on his recent smithsonian magazine article on the future of flying cars. later, former new mexico governor gary johnson who secured the libertarian presidential nominee position over the weekend. at 2016n's look at commencement speeches concludes now with supreme court nominee judge merrick garland. he was the speaker at niles west high school in illinois. a place where he graduated as a legit taurean of his class. -- as