NEWSMAKERS: Mitch Daniels

December 28, 2013
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2013 NEWSMAKER: Scott Dorsey 2013 NEWSMAKER: Andrew Luck 2013 Newsmakers: Tony Bennett
                              &<br />Glenda Ritz 2013 NEWSMAKER: Mitch Daniels 2013 NEWSMAKER: Joe Swedish

Mitch Daniels moved out of the Statehouse in early January after eight years as governor. But he never left the headlines.

Daniels took the helm of Purdue University in West Lafayette and immediately made waves by freezing tuition for the first time since 1976. That forced the state’s other public universities to raise tuition less than they had been recently.

Daniels Daniels

Not everyone at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus supported the move, which required $40 million in budget cutting. But Daniels, nicknamed The Blade when he was President George W. Bush’s budget chief, said he’s committed to making Purdue stand out as a high-value institution, not just a high-spending one.

“Today, you get credit for spending more money. There’s nothing in there about how well it works,” Daniels said.

Controversy around Daniels spiked in June when emails he wrote in 2010 criticizing the late historian Howard Zinn were published by the Associated Press.

In those emails, Daniels called on his staff to make sure Zinn’s famous book, “A People’s History of the United States,” wasn’t being used in any K-12 classrooms or teacher training programs.

Some professors at Purdue decried what they called Daniels’ attempt at censorship.

But faculty anger didn’t reach its zenith until professors’ funding was threatened. In August, Daniels refused to join most other university presidents in the nation in signing a letter to Congress asking for more research funding to universities. Daniels said such a call was irresponsible given the nation’s fiscal condition.

But after Purdue professors called the move blatantly political, Daniels reversed course, noting that the university presidents had previously called for congressional action to improve the nation’s finances.

In September, Daniels announced his priorities, including a $60 million effort to turn Purdue into a hub of pharmaceutical R&D partner for large drug companies.


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  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.