Daniels '71 named president of Purdue University
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ’71 may have declined to run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States last year, disappointing many national conservative leaders, but Daniels hasn’t abandoned the idea of a presidency altogether. On Thursday, Purdue University, Indiana's second-largest public university, announced that the home-state governor would be its next college president.
Purdue announced at a Thursday press conference that Daniels would take over as its 12th president in January, when his second term as governor expires. The news apparently douses speculation that Daniels would be a vice presidential contender following his term as governor.
Analysts in Indiana noted that Daniels would bring his political savvy and his demonstrated fundraising skills to Purdue, which may be needed after Daniels cut funding to the state university as governor. Dennis Barden, who leads executive searches in Indiana, told the Indianapolis Star that Daniels was a “‘wow’ appointment.”
“In terms of what a college president does today, this is a huge positive; this is a big win for Purdue,” Barden told the Star.
Though he may not have experience in university administration, Daniels noted in a statement that his love of learning has prepared him well for the job.
“I have not made a life in the academy, but I have spent my life reading, admiring and attempting to learn from those who do,” he said.
Media reports about the appointment initially surfaced earlier this week, but Daniels declined to comment at the time. The news became official on Thursday, when the 10-member Board of Trustees unanimously elected Daniels as Purdue’s president.
During his eight years as governor, Daniels appointed eight of the 10 current members of the Board, including three that he reappointed on Tuesday.
Daniels, a former Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush White House before being elected governor, announced last May that he would not run for the Republican nomination for President, citing family apprehension. Many top conservatives, unhappy with the Republican field, had petitioned Daniels to enter the race.
At Princeton, Daniels was active in College Republicans and majored in the Wilson School. During his junior year, Daniels was indicted and convicted for marijuana use, saying in a February 2011 interview with The Daily Princetonian that “justice was served” and that the incident was a “lesson.”