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Bloomington Herald-Times

June 20, 2012

Report: Gov. Mitch Daniels is pick for new Purdue president

Statehouse File
June 19, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue University will name a new president Thursday and a source close to the university said the pick is two-term Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican who has also served two U.S. presidents.

Purdue officials declined to comment on the report, saying the announcement about its new leader will come Thursday. Jane Jankowski, the governor's press secretary, said in an email that, "Our office has no comment."

The Purdue Board of Trustees is set to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse to vote on a candidate nominated to be the university's 12th president.

WISH-TV first reported that Daniels would be that nominee. A source with close ties to the university later confirmed that to

Former Republican State Chairman Mike McDaniel said he has no first-hand knowledge about Purdue's choice but he said the governor would be a great pick.

"If it is true, I think it's a win-win for everybody involved," McDaniel said. "He's got the skills that modern day presidents need to have. You've got to have somebody who has the ability to promote what the school is doing, to raise money for the institution, who has the ability to lead, who understands the connection between the kind of institution Purdue is and what it can do for the economy."

Daniels "is the perfect fit," he said.

John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, had predicted Purdue might turn to Daniels. He said Tuesday that if Daniels takes over the school, it will raise the credibility of the university nationally and also give the governor a position from which he can continue to have a national profile.

Ketzenberger said no one in Indiana and few candidates across the country have the breadth of experiences that Daniels could bring to Purdue. The Republican served as a political adviser to President Ronald Reagan, an executive at pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, budget director for President George W. Bush, and helped lead the conservative Hudson Institute.

He also worked in various political and policy positions for U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.

"Academia gets hung up on degrees," Ketzenberger said. "But this is where they're going in higher education, with people who understand management, who understand how to control, diversify and bring discipline to the university."

Purdue's new president will succeed France Córdova, who is retiring this summer.