Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced plans on Friday to step down at the end of this year.
Daniels has served as president since 2013, taking the position after two terms as the governor of Indiana.
Daniels will be replaced by Purdue’s own Mung Chiang, who currently serves as dean of engineering and vice president for strategic initiatives.
Daniels said that the question of when he would leave has hinged on who would succeed him.
“Without having decided when, we’ve been working with the board talking about the who for three years or more,” Daniels said. “I’ve seen it as very much a part of my job, just as it’s their biggest job, to find the very best leader for this place.”
Daniels said he and the board worked to identify top talent on the university’s campus, and gave them bigger jobs so they could prove themselves.
“If you look at the trajectory of Mung’s time here, you’ll see that,” he said.
A press release from the university touts Chiang’s accomplishments in his five years at Purdue: leading the engineering college to its “highest rankings ever” and attracting record-setting research funding from both government and industry sectors.
Chiang described the announcement of his incoming presidency as an honor.
“It is with no exaggeration the highest, most humbling honor that I could imagine. I love Purdue,” he said. “I love this place. It is unlike any other.”
Chiang said he doesn’t see himself attempting to fill the shoes of Mitch Daniels.
“There’s only one Mitch Daniels in higher education…I benefit tremendously from his leadership,” he said. “But it’s probably obvious I cannot ride a Harley Davidson. I probably consume more ice cream.”
As for Purdue’s trajectory, Chiang said he plans to follow the plans laid out in the Next Moves Initiative last year.
“As to any other future potential initiatives, I will be listening to the entire Boilermaker community in the next six months and thinking through them,” he said.
Daniels said he has no plans for what comes next…yet.
“I think there will be a next, you know…but my duty is right here for seven more months,” he said.
Daniels also said it’s “too soon” to think about what his legacy at Purdue has been.
“A, we’re not done, and B, it’s Mung’s day,” he said.
Chiang will officially replace Daniels on Jan. 1, 2023.