Trustees elect Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as Purdue's 12th president

June 21, 2012

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels talks with students outside Stewart Center  following the announcement that he will become Purdue University's  12th President. (Purdue University photo)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue Board of Trustees on Thursday (June 21) unanimously selected Indiana Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. to be the university's next president.

Daniels will start in January at the conclusion of his second term as governor. He will be Purdue's 12th president, succeeding France A. Córdova, who will step down July 15.

Keith Krach, board chairman, heralded Daniels' appointment as "an innovative, game-changing move for Purdue."

"Gov. Mitch Daniels will continue to raise the global profile of Purdue. He's committed to the success of our land-grant institution, he's an advocate for economic progress through innovative research and he's made Indiana the state to watch for the last several years," Krach said. "With his leadership, intellect and passion for higher education, there's no limit to the greatness Purdue can achieve."

Daniels praised Purdue as an invaluable asset for Indiana and the country and as an educational institution globally renowned for producing discoveries and graduates in high demand.

Daniels said his first priority would be to learn from the faculty and earn their trust and collaboration to help further Purdue's research and education missions.

"No institution of any kind means more to Indiana today or tomorrow as Purdue University. It educates at the highest level the engineers, scientists, agricultural experts and information technologists on whom our state and national success disproportionately depend," Daniels said.

"Its research gives rise to the innovative new goods, services and companies on which American and Hoosier prosperity must be built. I can conceive of no other assignment in which a person has the chance to contribute more to building the kind of Indiana of which we dream."

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels speaks in Loeb Playhouse after being elected Thursday (June 21) by Purdue Board of Trustees as the university's 12th president. Seated is Trustees chair Keith Krach. (Purdue Photo by Steven Yang)

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Daniels has often praised Purdue in his eight years as Indiana's chief economic development officer, saying "what is taught so well here at Purdue is what the nation and the state need most: math, science, engineering, agricultural science - the critical intellectual building blocks of a winning national economy."

Daniels, Indiana's 49th governor, was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 with the largest number of votes ever recorded by any candidate for public office in state history. Chief among his accomplishments are turning a state budget deficit into a surplus, launching Indiana into the top ranks of business-friendly states, and reforming and improving the performance of government across the board.

Daniels has held a variety of top-level positions in business and politics. He worked 11 years at Eli Lilly and Co., including service as president of the company's North American Pharmaceutical Operations. Previously, he was CEO of the Hudson Institute, then a contract research organization known for its analyses of the central role of technology in human progress, among other issues. He also served as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, director of the Office of Management and Budget for President George W. Bush, and chief of staff for Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar. Daniels was widely viewed in 2011 as a viable candidate for the U.S. presidency before choosing not to run.

He is the author of two books, "Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans" and "Notes from the Road," a chronicle of his Indiana travels as a first-time political candidate.

Daniels earned a bachelor's degree with honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1971 and a law degree from Georgetown University in 1979. He is the recipient of eight honorary degrees, from institutions including Butler University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Wabash College.

Córdova, Purdue's 11th president, said Daniels' experience as a leader in the top levels of business and government will serve Purdue well.

"Gov. Daniels has said that the quality of Purdue's faculty is its strength. He is committed to excellence in the faculty ranks and will continue to hire and retain talented faculty members. He understands the value of superb staff, having hired many in his diverse leadership roles. Like all of us in the academy, he is committed to student success," Córdova said. "The challenges faced by public research universities today are great, and Purdue is fortunate to have found a focused, experienced leader in Mitch Daniels."

Córdova guided the university through the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression, working to preserve the quality of a Purdue education and the value of a Purdue degree, boosting the student experience, and increasing research funding and technology transfer to improve both discovery and delivery for economic impact. She also focused on sustaining Purdue's financial future through cost containment and developing a decadal funding plan to generate new sources of revenue.

During her tenure, faculty accomplishments included a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, two World Food Prizes, and two National Medals of Technology and Innovation.

Founded in 1869, Purdue is an Association of American Universities (AAU), Big Ten Conference, land-grant university system with four campuses. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the country's top 25 public universities, Purdue enjoys global acclaim for the quality of its teaching and research in a wide range of fields.

On the West Lafayette campus alone, the university offers some 5,300 courses in more than 350 specializations, organized through 12 undergraduate colleges/schools and the Graduate School. Approximately 40,000 students are enrolled at the West Lafayette campus, while some 35,000 others pursue degree work at four regional campuses and 10 Statewide Technology education sites. Its graduates - including more than 426,000 living alumni around the globe - have explored the surface of the moon; quarterbacked Super Bowl championship teams; excelled in a range of corporate, artistic, educational, technical and scientific pursuits; and received honors ranging from the Oscar to the Nobel Prize.

More than 18,200 people work at Purdue campuses and facilities statewide, with 15,500 faculty and staff on the West Lafayette campus. Purdue's annual operating budget is more than $2 billion with approximately $600 million in sponsored research expenditures on the West Lafayette campus. The current value of the Purdue endowment is above $2 billion.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Sources: Keith Krach, keith@3points.org

                  Mitch Daniels, media contact: 317-232-1622

                  France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu  

Note to Journalists:  Remarks from the event include those from President-elect Mitchell E. Daniels: http://www.purdue.edu/president/p12/remarks/120621Daniels.html; Keith Krach, chairman of the Board of Trustees: http://www.purdue.edu/president/p12/remarks/120621Krach.html; and President France A. Córdova: http://www.purdue.edu/president/p12/remarks/120621Cordova.html