This week marks the first six months of President Mitch Daniels’ position in office and the former governor has already paved a way towards his legacy.
Though his presidency got off to a rocky start with allegations of an ethics issue and because he was the first government official to become president of Purdue, Daniels’ welcome to higher education was a contentious one.
The unassuming, yet commanding president has battled the public protests of his election with fortitude. Despite the hurdles he has had to jump, Daniels has done his best to become an accessible president. With his goal to meet as many students as possible, Daniels has been to several on-campus events, made a cameo appearance in a student music video and has even stopped by The Exponent to introduce himself to the media.
Furthermore, with his “Open Letter to the People of Purdue” Daniels made a list goals for the University. Daniels outlined what he found to be problematic in higher education and his goals to making Purdue a better, stronger university. Daniels is slowly, but surely making headway toward his goals. The letter touched on a variety topics, yet was a comprehensive look at Purdue. Students, faculty and staff will be waiting to see how the president plans to enforce his qualms with higher education.
Daniels, known for his conservative decision-making as governor, has brought the same type of perspective to Purdue. By deciding to implement two-year tuition freeze and an administrative wage increase freeze – which was later revoked – Daniels has sought favor amongst parents and those in charge of Purdue’s finances; he has also tackled one of his goals in his open letter in regards to affordability. Daniels’ conservatism has also shined through in his assessment of a variety of administrative positions and a reduction in the administrative staff for a more efficient University. Daniels may have lost favor with some of the administration as jobs seem to be dissipating, but he has gained acceptance amongst students and faculty.
However, Daniels has also brought in a number of jobs to the University as well. Though no longer politically active, the president has not forgotten those close to him. Daniels has brought in a number of people from the days of his governorship.
Daniels, love him or hate him, has made waves in his short time at Purdue. The future of academics and research look bright as new partnerships are being made across the country and the globe. However, those seeking administrative positions at the University should be wary. Always the approachable and friendly man he is, Daniels is here to stay and will continue to innovate and will leave a grand legacy behind him.