What Mitch Daniels said on his way out at Purdue
As speculation swirled about what's next for Daniels, Purdue’s president told a room: ‘10 years haven't always been serene, but every day’s been grand.’ Plus, what Mung Chiang said on the way in
Did you miss the New Year’s Day transition at Purdue?
Yeah, it was a quiet one, what with holiday timing in the midst of a weeklong campuswide break, this official shift from the Mitch Daniels era to a fresh one for former Engineering Dean Mung Chiang.
The hype and extended farewells – or as Daniels referred to it, the foofaraw – of course, came earlier in Daniels’ final month of his decade on the West Lafayette campus, during a string of events Purdue labeled “MitchFest.”
During those days, Daniels gave any number of tailored goodbyes, whether from a podium for the renaming of State Street to Mitch Daniels Boulevard, in a meet-and-greet selfie station that ran for hours on the Purdue Memorial Union lawn or the Elliott Hall of Music stage, when he rebuffed former President George W. Bush’s suggestion that he sounded like a guy looking to run for governor, again.
The night of Daniels’ Q&A, Purdue gathered trustees, big donors, faculty, upper-level staff, politicians and assorted players on- and near-campus for a dinner in a packed Purdue Memorial Union ballroom. As tables speculated on what was next for Daniels – beyond his volunteer role as chairman of the Purdue Research Foundation and the ongoing development at Purdue’s Discovery Park District – he joked about the production of the extended farewell.
“I caught (Trustee Chairman Mike) Berghoff humming one of my favorite old country songs a little while ago: ‘How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away,’” Daniels said.
That night, during a 16-minute speech, Daniels gave his assessment of a 10-year run at Purdue that started the afternoon his second term as governor ended in January 2013.
Here’s some of what he had to say on his way out of Hovde Hall.