Tag: Purdue

America’s Best University President to Retire


As a young Capitol Hill staffer in the early 1980s, one of the people I ran into fairly frequently was then-chief of staff for first-term GOP US Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) Mitch Daniels. I was the press secretary to 28-year-old freshman US Rep. John Hiler (R-IN). I often spotted Lugar and Daniels doing morning or mid-day runs together on Washington’s Mall. Lugar featured arguably the best crop of Senate chiefs of staff during his own illustrative 24-year Senate career. Daniels set the standard.

Present company excluded, Indiana’s congressional delegation then had an ambitious, talented, and star-studded delegation and staff. Lugar’s junior Senate colleague, Dan Quayle, would become Vice President in 1989. US Rep. Dan Coats, who succeeded Quayle in the House, became a US Senator (twice), US Ambassador to Germany, and Director of National Intelligence.

After a stint as North American President of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, Daniels, now 73, would serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget during the George W. Bush Administration. That was followed by two terms as Governor of Indiana, where he unseated an incumbent Democrat in 2004. I still follow many of my then-fellow Indiana congressional delegation staffers who became policy, political, and media legends. I married one.

The Best Commencement Speech of 2021


Purdue University President Mitch Daniels warned that the pandemic snuffed out the American eagerness to take risks and move ahead boldly.

There is no finer commencement speaker at any level than Purdue University’s President and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. And not because his speeches are relatively short. Nor are they delivered in a flourishing style reminiscent of former Secretary of State and Harvard President Edward Everett, the other Gettysburg speaker in 1863, giving a speech for two hours that no one remembers.

Oh, sure, there are other terrific commencement speakers. Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame comes to mind. Not to a college or university, but this short, memorable unsolicited speech via his Facebook page to trade school graduates and high school grads who forgo college for a trade. Delivered last year during the height of the pandemic, it is timeless.