Published on: December 18th, 2020

White House Appoints Arnn and Spalding to lead 1776 Commission

Commission to Advise President about America’s Founding Principles

Hillsdale, Mich. – Today at the White House, President Donald Trump announced that Dr. Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale College president, will be appointed to serve as chairman of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. Dr. Matthew Spalding, vice president for the College’s Washington, D.C. operations and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, has been appointed executive director of the Commission.

“The 1776 Committee was formed to advise the President about the core principles of the American founding and how to protect those principles by promoting patriotic education,” said Dr. Spalding. “The path to a renewed and confident national unity is through a rediscovery of our shared identity rooted in those principles.  It is an honor to be entrusted to direct the Commission.”

The Commission was created by executive order in November 2020 to advise the President about teaching future generations about the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and correcting the rising tide of anti-American scholarship that rejects that history and those principles.  The Commission will also make recommendations about preparing for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of American Independence. 

Dr. Spalding has taken a temporary leave of absence from his duties at Hillsdale for the appointment.  During his absence, Dr. Matthew Mehan, director of academic programs, will oversee undergraduate classes and the spring session of the graduate school at Hillsdale’s D.C. campus.

For more information, please read the briefing on the commission’s duties and President Trump’s “Executive Order Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.”

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