INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Indiana’s Republican Governor, Mitch Daniels, once considered a potential candidate for U.S. president, will become the next president of Purdue University after a vote by the school’s board of trustees on Thursday.
Daniels will become the 12th president in Purdue’s 143-year history in January at the end of his second term as governor, his spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said. His salary as governor is $107,000
Purdue trustee and search committee chairman Michael Berghoff said Daniels, 63, was recruited for the job and was interviewed at length three times, earning the unanimous support of the search committee.
Daniels announced last year he would not seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, citing family reasons. He also has said he does not want to be considered as a vice presidential running mate for Republican Mitt Romney, who faces Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6.
As governor, Daniels championed measures to rein in labor unions and has been an influential conservative on budget issues. He earned the nickname, “the Blade,” during his time as budget director in the administration of former President George W. Bush.
He is expected to bring some of those cost-cutting practices to his new job, and school trustee John Hardin, Jr. urged Daniels to help make higher education more affordable.
“Some things, in terms of the cost to our students, are simply not sustainable, so having a creative and dynamic leader is important,” Hardin said before casting his vote for Daniels.
Purdue, a school with nearly 31,000 undergraduates in West Lafayette, is acclaimed for its engineering, science, and agricultural departments. Tuition and fees for in-state students totaled $9,900 in the coming 2012-2013 school year, and $28,702 for out-of-state students, according to the university’s website.
“I have not made a life in the academy, but I have spent my life reading, admiring, and attempting to learn from those who do,” Daniels said in a statement.
“I am troubled, but persuaded, by the many who assert that American higher education is now challenged to modernize its traditional practices and to reconfirm its value to students and society,” he said.
Daniels also said that from now on he would refrain from partisan political activities or commentary.
First elected governor in 2004, and re-elected in 2008, Daniels is barred by law to run for that office again. He will succeed Purdue president France Cordova, who is retiring.
A motorcycle buff, Daniels was presented by the university with a leather Harley-Davidson motorcycle jacket bearing a Purdue “P” on the front.
Reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Andrew Stern and Jackie Frank