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The Washington Times
June 6, 2006

Washington Times Op-ed—Patrick Henry College Gains Notice

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

Patrick Henry College, founded in 2000, just celebrated its fifth graduation on its Purcellville, Va., campus. The 49 graduates received bachelor’s degrees.

Supported by the Home School Legal Defense Association, PHC is dedicated to preparing Christian men and women to lead our nation and to shape our culture using biblical values they learned from their parents and churches, as well as PHC.

The college is unique among conservative Christian colleges because of its emphasis on classical liberal arts and on the preparation of its students for public service, advocacy and citizen leadership, as well as a commitment to apprenticeship.

Its proximity to Washington has enabled the apprenticeship methodology to flourish. Many of the students have been able to work for senators and representatives on Capitol Hill and several have worked at the White House.

Recently, several teams of PHC students defeated Oxford University in a moot court competition. The first victory was in England, in front of several law lords, who are similar in position to U.S. Supreme Court justices. The second victory was before the Virginia Supreme Court.

Despite these successes, the students remain firmly grounded. The motto of the school is “For Christ and for liberty.” The administration, professors and students subscribe to a statement of faith emphasizing that a student’s spiritual life is paramount even on a college campus with the goal of being a “Christian Ivy League” school.

One of the other attractions of the college is the focus on studying the Founding Fathers, particularly their philosophy of government and life.

PHC is attempting to become the obvious choice for any student with a biblical worldview who is seeking the very highest standards available in education. Graduating students can be certain they have received an excellent education.

Fox News Managing Editor Brit Hume gave the commencement address to the latest graduates. He cautioned that although they should be proud of their college, once in the work force, few will care. He assured the students that if they worked hard they would get ahead and that they should be patient and always be positive.

Perhaps Mary Elizabeth Clemmer, the student who gave an address at the commencement, best summed up the personality of the college when she said, “Vision alone won’t change a nation, but the God-centered personal character motivated by the vision will. This is what will make it possible for us to actually have an impact [on our culture].”

The college has an enrollment of 300 and is growing. Although it’s a relatively small college, PHC offers majors in government, journalism, history, literature and classical liberal arts. The entering students are well qualified with a median SAT score of 1330, which is comparable to the SAT scores for entering freshmen at the University of Virginia.

For those who might be interested in receiving a classical liberal arts education that takes the spiritual climate of its students seriously, contact Patrick Henry College at

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to

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