More from Chiang and Daniels as campus mulls Purdue’s surprise transition
Questions swirl after a whirlwind transition plan, in the wake of Friday’s combo Mitch Daniels retirement announcement/new president selection. Plus, plans come together for a community Juneteenth
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Monday rolled around at Purdue with people still trying to put together the pieces of a whirlwind Friday when President Mitch Daniels announced he was leaving the university at the end of 2022 and trustees introduced Mung Chiang, Purdue’s engineering dean and executive vice president for strategic initiatives, as his replacement.
So many questions, starting with who knew what and when in an announcement that seemed to catch nearly everyone off guard.
Which current Purdue administrators were now in the transfer portal – so to speak – after being passed over in an internal search that Trustee Chairman Mike Berghoff said the trustees considered several members of Daniels’ team at the university before selecting Chiang?
Did any of the post-Purdue prospects for Daniels revolve around political offices? (So many of the social media mentions Friday and beyond wondered about another Draft Mitch campaign to get him to run for the White House. Indiana columnist Brian Howey laid odds on speculation about a repeat run for Indiana governor.)
What will the lingering effect of a quiet and unannounced search have on already tender relations between trustees and faculty? (The American Association of University Professors chapters on Purdue campuses continued to blister trustees with accusations of arrogance for selecting a new president without any semblance of a public search and before letting on that Daniels had picked a retirement date. Nothing against Chiang, they said. But … “The fact that the university community was not even alerted to the transition until the new president was announced is a clear violation of this basic norm,” Michael Johnston, an associate professor of English, said.)
And what sort of farewell tour was the West Lafayette campus in for in the next six months for someone like Daniels, who left such a big mark? (West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis was among the first to say he’d miss Daniels. “He’s been an amazing partner, he helped change our city, the community and the State,” Dennis said. “The bonds between the city and university are stronger than ever. He has done a great job of holding tuition costs, which has increased enrollment which has been a benefit for the city in many ways. The collaboration between the city and university has never been better and he has been a fun motorcycle riding partner. And he’s a good friend.”
While not necessarily the answers to all those questions, here are a few excerpts from interviews with Chiang and Daniels, as the dust hadn’t had time to settle Friday.