No institution of any kind means more to Indiana today or tomorrow as Purdue University. It educates at the highest level the engineers, scientists, agricultural experts, and information technologists on whom our state and national success disproportionately depend.
Its research gives rise to the innovative new goods, services, and companies on which American and Hoosier prosperity must be built. I can conceive of no other assignment in which a person has the chance to contribute more to building the kind of Indiana of which we dream.
My old friend and former colleague Art Hansen, Purdue's eighth president, once said that, at any university, no one learns as much as the president.
That will most literally and necessarily be true of me.
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. I am not a scholar in the sciences, but I am as avid a student of their advances as a lay person can be, and have taken every step I could think of to elevate the scientific disciplines in the eyes of our citizens and in the educational paths of our young people.
I will have to earn the honor of this appointment through strenuous work to build the understanding, alliances and personal relationships, especially with faculty, required for a successful presidency. I likewise look forward to as much direct engagement with Purdue students as they are willing to have with me.
Off campus, I hope to become an audible and credible voice for the critical role of higher education in the nation's future, and an effective advocate of Purdue to those who might support its growth in quality and reputation.
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. Perhaps Purdue, a premier community of problem-solvers, can lead in this transition and the innovations that will shape it.
The balance of this calendar year, I will use the time not consumed by my current duties to begin this process of earning by learning. Effective immediately, I will recuse myself from any partisan political activities or commentary.
I will come to this assignment filled with appreciation for the Purdue we know and excitement for the still greater Purdue that can be. Helping this great institution achieve even higher levels of research and intellectual excellence, by recruiting the finest minds and students anywhere in the world, and delivering to those students an exceptional, affordable education, is the highest calling to which anyone who loves this state as I do could aspire.