Published on: June 7th, 2024

Fellow Spotlight | Brian Hawkins, James Madison Fellowship

Meet Brian Hawkins (’24) is the Senior Director of External Affairs at People United for Privacy Foundation.

What have you learned at Hillsdale and how has it shaped you or your work in DC? 

Arguably one of the most poignant things I've learned in JMF is the concept of the law as an inherently moral conception. That shouldn't be such a radical notion, but prior to JMF I had been a victim of the contemporary convention that the government should not legislate morality; but Dr. Azerrad rejected that construct, insisting instead that all law is moral. How a nation expends its resources are moral questions; as are the social behaviors a state aims to discourage or encourage, big and small: marriage, due process rights, littering, immigration, etc... As such, I've become more comfortable in asserting explicitly Judeo-Christian moral principles in policymaking because those are the principles that built our country and will continue to secure liberty and prosperity for posterity. 


Why does the James Madison Fellowship matter to you? 

One of my favorite parts of the James Madison Fellowship is the network, not only of my peers, but the faculty. On the faculty, I feel like I have an expanded pool of intellect and expertise at my disposal to help guide my daily work. I even fanboy a little with Dr. Spaulding because I read "We Still Hold These Truths" early in college and it was a great influence on my ideological development. So it's a privilege to be able to learn directly from him and the other faculty. My peers are awesome! Some of them I've known before through work; others are completely new to me; while there are a few with public profiles who I admired from afar on the platform formerly known as Twitter. Tackling important issues of the day with them renews my optimism for this country. So to anyone reading this now, as bleak as things seem, take solace knowing that JMF is nurturing the next generation of leaders committed to restoring America's promise. 

We’re so grateful to have students like Brian a part of our Madison Fellowship program.

Interested in on our James Madison Fellowship? The deadline to apply for the 2024-2025 class is July 8th.


About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 5.7 million. For more information, visit