As President Mitch Daniels left Hovde Hall for his next appointment this afternoon, students surprised him with a grand welcome to Purdue organized by Joe Rust, Purdue Student Government president. Members of a dance team performed Gangnam Style and a large section of the All-American Marching Band played the strains of Hail, Purdue for President Daniels to mark his arrival to Purdue this week.
There are always mixed feelings when a politician, such as Mitch Daniels, who was once a presidential candidate prospect, is named the president-elect of a higher education institute. Yes, he is the Governor of Indiana and has visibility to the highest degree (posts as president of the Hudson Institute and vice president of Eli Lilly and Co., as well as White House political director and White House budget director) which could somehow translate into new potential job opportunities for Purdue students. But when it comes to higher education, his views are not that visible, at least to my colleagues and I who have been at Purdue for more than 4 years. Even in terms of policies and political agenda, he was more focused towards reforming government services, economic development and reducing the state’s deficit which are still quite different from running a higher education institution such a Purdue University.
Besides, an institution as reputable as Purdue University is equally and globally visible. Hence, I’m not quite sure how Purdue would benefit from this inevitable union or better yet, the 1 or 2 key reasons Mitch Daniels was chosen above all others. Personally, it seemed like a slight act of desperation given the non-interesting pool of candidates compared to the ever-pressing France A. Córdova. The search committee revealed little information to the public regarding their search and their pool of candidates so I am forced to go by the minimal information I was able to obtain from colleagues and sources alike. There are even speculations that Mr. Daniels reappointed 3 trustee members at Purdue, one of whom was Michael Berghoff, the head of the search committee but who am I to speculate. Either way, it will be very interesting to see how he handles the public event on September 27, 2012 where the focus will be strictly on higher education.
Editor’s note: Project Impact will be hosting C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb’s interview of Governor Daniels in Loeb Playhouse on September 27, 2012 at 4:30. On Twitter: @Project_Impact
Purdue News: C-SPAN founder, Gov. Daniels to discuss higher education during public interview
The Exponent: C-SPAN founder, Gov. Daniels to discuss higher education during public interview