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ACTA Commends Leadership of Purdue President Mitch Daniels

January 20, 2014

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni applauds the leadership of Purdue University president Mitch Daniels as he sets the tone for courageous and responsible college governance.

Daniels issued an open letter discussing the first year of his presidency and outlining his strategy for the future, which includes asking the Board of Trustees to approve a third consecutive year of tuition freezes and establishing two $500,000 awards for the development of a three-year degree plan and a competency-based degree.

“As in 2013, we ask a campus-wide commitment to economy and to concentrating our resources on the core objectives of the university: teaching, research, and engagement,” Daniels wrote.

Highlights from the letter:

  • Besides seeking a third year of frozen tuition, Daniels also cut meal plan costs by 5% in 2013. 
  • Streamlining: The university saved $188,000 by selling underutilized vehicles, cutting unnecessary rental storage, and using used furniture in the sustainability office.
  • The school has partnered with Gallup Research to measure the readiness of graduates in order to examine the value of a Purdue education.
  • Nearly a third (30%) of Daniels’ salary is based on the outcome of performance measures, meaning if the president does not achieve measurable goals, his salary will be lower. In 2013, performance measures were applied to other top administrators’ compensation.
  • Daniels is offering two $500,000 awards for innovation: “The first department or program to fashion a three-year degree, and the first to create a competency-based degree, will each be supported with $500,000 from the presidential discretionary account.  Any funds left over after costs of transition are the department’s to keep.”

“President Daniels’ courageous leadership sets an optimistic precedent in the higher education community that innovation can trump stodgy habits,” said Anne Neal, ACTA president. “It’s crucial for the higher education community to be creative and agile in finding ways to ensure graduates are prepared—and that means a solid education at an affordable price. Purdue is leading the way.”


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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