Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ’71 and Arminio Fraga GS ’85 will be presented with the highest honors for Princeton alumni during Alumni Day on Feb. 23, the University announced Wednesday.
Daniels, who is approaching the end of his second term as governor and will take over the presidency of Purdue University in January, will receive the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor for an undergraduate alumnus. Fraga, a financier and former president of the Central Bank of Brazil, will accept the James Madison Medal, the highest distinction for a graduate alumnus.
Before being elected the 49th governor of Indiana, Daniels worked in a variety of political positions. He served as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, as chief of staff to recently-defeated Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar and as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. Last May, Daniels disappointed many national conservative leaders with the announcement that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president.
Daniels last visited the University on Oct. 25, when he gave a lecture about public sector efficiency titled “The Indiana Story.” Wilson School dean Cecilia Rouse said in a University press release that she was proud that Daniels — who studied in the Wilson School as an undergraduate — had received the award, adding that in his lecture he highlighted the importance of public service.
Marc Stuart ’71, Daniels' friend and roommate, said the award was "well-deserved."
“I’d have to say Mitch is one of the few people I’ve ever suspected might be smarter than me," Stuart said. “He definitely, looking back, he had a leadership personality.”
Nevertheless, Stuart said Daniels was a "troublemaker," adding that he "just got into things."
Daniels was arrested during his junior year at Princeton for possession of marijuana, LSD and prescription drugs. He told The Daily Princetonian in February 2011 that he learned his lesson, and that “justice was done.” While an undergraduate, he was also involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement and was a member of the College Republicans.
Fraga, the James Madison Medal winner, was president of the Central Bank of Brazil from 1999 to 2002. He has held a variety of financial positions and serves on the boards of several NGOs. He has served as the chairman of BM&F Bovespa, a Brazilian stock exchange, since 2009 and founded an investment management firm in 2003.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Fraga has published widely on international finance and has taught at several universities over the years. Early in his career, he worked as the managing director of Soros Fund Management, the hedge fund management firm founded by billionaire and philanthropist George Soros.
In the statement, Dean of the Graduate School William Russel credited Fraga with saving the Brazilian economy from a 1990s recession, which produced skyrocketing inflation and diminished the country’s GDP.
Fraga received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton in 1985, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the field from the Catholic University of Rio de Janiero in 1979.
The University will also honor the winners of the Pyne Prize, the highest honor bestowed on a current undergraduate, at Alumni Day.