Watching a cable news interview with a major university president, we were struck by the fact he was talking not about he might do to reduce the cost of a college education and the attending debt burden, but what he actually had done. Expounding on his article that recently appeared in the Washington Post where he is a contributor, he outlined what in point of fact how is has reduced costs. At a time when college costs are rising at a rate far in excess of the general rate of inflation, since he became President in 2013 his university has seen no rise in tuition and other costs such as text books have been successfully attacked. Innovative ways for students to get a college education without incurring heavy debt have been introduced. Wow, somebody telling you what he’s actually done about a major problem rather than talking pie in sky.
In the fashion of cable news, after University President’s interview was over and he was gone, two commentators, one from the left and one from the right joined the host to discuss what was said. What impressed us was instead of the normal loud disagreement that seems to come with the job of cable news commentator, both were surprisingly positive about what they heard. One might think the commentator on the right might look in askance of an academic Washington Post Contributor, but on the other hand the one from the left might be unenthusiastic over a known Republican. Yet with some tangible ideas to think and talk about, both admiringly considered how these actions could be expanded upon. Real solutions seem to bring a certain consensus.
Who is this University President who elicits such a positive response? That would be Mitch Daniels, the President of Purdue University. It would not come as a surprise to those acquainted with him to be seen as a problem solver. A successful two term Indiana Governor, a top Fortune Five hundred company executive, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under George w. Bush, Think Tank Head and author all point to a man who solves problems.