November 14, 2022

Purdue will celebrate President Daniels’ momentous decade during ‘MitchFest’ series of events in December

WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue University will hail President Mitch Daniels and the unprecedented impact of the Daniels Decade through a series of celebratory and stimulating public events during the first week of December.

The Purdue Board of Trustees is inviting the campus and Greater Lafayette community to “MitchFest,” activities that will include an outdoor campus festival on Dec. 2, a symposium on the freedom of inquiry on Dec. 5, and a Presidential Lecture Series conversation between former U.S. President George W. Bush and President Daniels on Dec. 6.

“Mitch has been a transformational leader for the university, and we want to send him out in style,” said Mike Berghoff, Purdue trustees chairman. “Although he never likes the spotlight shined on him, President Daniels deserves to be recognized for all that he has done for our students, faculty, staff and the entire state of Indiana. 'MitchFest' is just a small token of our collective appreciation — with laughs, cheers and opportunities to once again exchange world-changing ideas with the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members that President Daniels holds so dear.”

The list of key accomplishments during the Daniels Decade individually through a series of steps have translated into a collective giant leap for Purdue, touching tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff, transforming higher education’s landscape and demonstrating the vital role universities can play in fostering economic development and success at the local, state, national and global level.

  • Advancing student affordability, fostered by a decadelong tuition freeze and saving students and families over $1 billion.
  • Leading unprecedented enrollment growth.
  • Setting new highs in fundraising, including the Ever True campaign, raising more than $2.5 billion and initiating the ongoing annual Purdue Day of Giving.
  • Expanding the university’s land-grant mission through creation of Purdue Global and Purdue Polytechnic High Schools.
  • Guiding over $500 million in facility improvement projects, changing forever the way learning and research is delivered across campus.
  • Championing university-led economic development and growth through major efforts such as Discovery Park District at Purdue.
  • For a roundup of the highlights of the Daniels Decade, go here.

“There is no other university leader like Mitch Daniels. President Daniels built Purdue into the most consequential public university in the United States during the Daniels Decade,” said Purdue President-elect Mung Chiang. “Our university hit all-time records in student access and success, in research and innovation, and in transformative growth. Mitch is also the most innovative president in America: affordability through tuition freeze, 21st century land-grant through Purdue Global, and economic growth in Indiana through entrepreneurship and Discovery Park District. No event can encompass all the impact he has had, and MitchFest is one of the many ways we will say ‘thank you’ to President Daniels.”

Kicking off the weeklong MitchFest is a communitywide Mitch Streetfest, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the corner of State and Grant streets, complete with an appearance by members of the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and Purdue Pete. Also planned are giveaways, cold-weather refreshments and opportunities for all to wish President Daniels well and take selfie-pictures with him on the front lawn of Purdue Memorial Union.

The symposium, “Freedom of Inquiry and the Advancement of Knowledge,” is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. Steven Schultz, Purdue’s general counsel, will moderate the event, which is free and open to the public. Three leading free speech experts who will join Schultz on stage are:

  • Keith Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University, who has written extensively on free speech, constitutional law, history and politics.
  • Nadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, Emerita at the New York School of Law and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union.
  • Glenn Loury, a Paulson Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Economics at Brown University.

Former U. S. President Bush will share the stage with Daniels for the final Presidential Lecture Series event of Daniels’ tenure at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Elliott Hall of Music. The free event, titled “A Conversation with George W. Bush,” is sold out.

Co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the Presidential Lecture Series event features a discussion between Bush and Daniels on leadership in challenging times and the responsibilities of an informed citizenship. Daniels was President Bush’s first budget director from 2001-03.

Other events with Purdue leadership and key staff; with alumni, community and state leaders; and with faculty are also planned as part of MitchFest to celebrate the Daniels Decade of preeminent leadership.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Media contact: Tim Doty, doty2@purdue.edu

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