Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Purdue Trustees Say Donors Support Gov. Daniels, Even After Former Dean Pulls Gift

    Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

    Mitch Daniels takes questions from media from the stage of Purdue's Loeb Playhouse following the announcement he would become the school's next president.

    Donations are up since Purdue announced Gov. Mitch Daniels would become the university’s next president, Board of Trustees Chairman Keith Krach told The Lafayette Journal and Courier:

    We are getting a positive reaction of 10 to one. I’ve seen a lot of emails and messages back and forth from huge donors willing to step up. There are guys coming out of the woodwork, people I didn’t know. I can’t even tell you how many people I am hearing from, including some very prominent people. With the governor coming in, I think it is going to be huge when it comes to development.

    But a former dean says she’s written the university out of her will as a result. Marilyn Haring, who led the College of Education from 1991 to 2001, says she had been planning to bequeath $1 million to the school but can’t in good conscience do so now.

    In an email, Haring called Daniels’ selection “a travesty and insult to academics.” She had not told Purdue about the bequest, which she established five years ago.

    Daniels won’t take office until January — Provost Tim Sands will serve as interim president when France Córdova steps down next month — but Haring told The Journal and Courier the governor’s record prompted her to act now:

    Daniels’ record on the issues regarding higher education, public education, etc. is well-known; and research across many studies and years has found that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. And no matter what he says or does as a political figure, Mr. Daniels cannot be considered an academician. His record is a political one, not an academic one. Purdue has been widely respected for its many academic accomplishments by faculty, professional staff, students, and alumni — not for its politics.

    Upon announcing the trustees’ selection, Krach said during a press conference he felt giving to Purdue was a personal decision and wasn’t worried donations would drop off because of the governor’s politics.

    Only Time Will Tell What Form Opposition To Daniels Will Take

    Morris Levy, past president of the faculty senate, said he was hesitant to discuss a change in support or a trajectory of success for Purdue, but says he knows people vote with their feet.

    “If the faculty feels that after President Daniels takes office that his policies are not in their favor, good faculty will find another place to go,” Levy said. “Alternatively, if the faculty elsewhere find the policies really encouraging and facilitating, Purdue will have one of the best recruiting generations it’s had in a long time.”

    “We’re not worried about that at all. I think when it comes to giving in whatever form back to Purdue, that’s somebody’s personal choice.”
    —Keith Krach, trustee

    Levy did say the governor will have to work to win over members of the Purdue community who said they wanted an academic to lead the university.

    Those are all possibilities the trustees would have considered before making their selection, says Dennis Barden, vice president of Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm that helps educational institutions hire leaders.

    “It’s a fool’s game to make a choice like this that you think can please everyone from day one,” Barden said. “That tends to lower the common denominator when it comes to making decisions about leadership.”

    Still, there are those who feel strongly the trustees have made a misstep in selecting Daniels as Purdue’s next president. They’ve created a Facebook event protesting the governor and plan to rally on campus this weekend. StateImpact will be in West Lafayette Saturday covering the protest.


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