Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, is likely to be named the next president of Purdue University. While one might expect his conservative views to disqualify him for leadership at a public university, sources inside the university said Daniels’ entrepreneurial vision would be an asset. According to Inside Higher Ed:
At some universities, professors have objected to the appointments of non-academics to presidential post. But faculty leaders at Purdue are open to the idea. Joseph Camp, secretary of faculties for the university’s Faculty Senate, said Daniels’ political background would not affect his ability to be president: “I don’t know if there’s anything in his background that will either qualify or disqualify him to be president, so what I have to do is maintain an open mind, and like everyone else, I’m curious to see how this all works out.”
Another member of the senate, Vice Chair David Williams, shared his view. Williams wrote in an e-mail that although “considerable voice” has been given to the next president being an academic, he sees the importance of having a president who can harness entrepreneurship at the university to attract funding. “Mitch Daniels has been successful in the business world, and in the political world. He could very well be the right person, at the right time, coming into the right environment. I find that prospect exciting,” he wrote.
Purdue deserves enormous credit for not disqualifying Daniels based on the R next to his name–something many other liberal universities would have done.