WASHINGTON, April 26, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) announced that Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. will receive its most prestigious award, in honor of his extraordinary leadership in promoting academic freedom, academic excellence, and cost-effective, efficient administration.
On October 12, 2018, ACTA will present President Daniels with the 2018 Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education. The selection of President Daniels, recommended by a committee of distinguished educational and civic leaders from around the country, specifically recognizes his instrumental role in
- promoting uncompromising freedom of expression on campus;
- maintaining rigorous academic standards;
- creating the Purdue Polytechnic High School—an innovative STEM preparatory charter school in Indianapolis;
- and managing a tuition freeze for all undergraduates at Purdue University for seven consecutive years, from the 2012-13 academic year through at least 2019-20.
Daniels is the 12th president of Purdue University and the former governor of Indiana. In recognition of his leadership in both offices, he was named among the World's 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine in 2015.
As a result of President Daniels's vision and guidance, tuition at Purdue has been held in check at a time when elsewhere, national higher education costs and student debt loads have escalated out of control. Through at least 2020, students at Purdue will pay less in tuition and fees than they were in 2012, and five graduating classes will have earned their Purdue degrees without ever experiencing a tuition increase.
President Daniels was also highly influential in building a culture of freedom of expression at Purdue, making it the first public university to adopt the Chicago Principles, forging a lasting partnership between students and University leaders, and becoming the first public university to earn the top rating for the protection of free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
ACTA President Michael Poliakoff observed, "Mitch Daniels has demonstrated how, with strong leadership and vision, a great university can reach new heights of excellence in teaching and learning, safeguard freedom of expression, expand opportunities for disadvantaged students, and still succeed in keeping college affordable. He inspires colleges and universities to see that both excellence and affordability can be within reach."
The Philip Merrill Award will be presented to President Daniels on October 12 at an evening gala following ACTA's annual ATHENA Roundtable conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. The award reflects and honors the legacy of the late Philip Merrill, a distinguished public servant, publisher, businessman, and philanthropist who served as a trustee of numerous universities and cultural institutions. Throughout his career, Mr. Merrill was a passionate proponent of academic excellence and an articulate spokesman for the importance of liberal education in a free society.
Previous Merrill Award recipients are:
- 2017—Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago
- 2016—Niall Ferguson, senior fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University, & Ayaan Hirsi Ali, human rights advocate and former member of the Dutch Parliament
- 2015—Hank Brown, former U.S. senator and president emeritus of the University of Colorado and University of Northern Colorado
- 2014—Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society
- 2013—Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia
- 2012—Thomas M. Rollins, founder of The Teaching Company
- 2011—David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author
- 2010—Benno Schmidt, past president of Yale University and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY)
- 2009—Robert "KC" Johnson, distinguished scholar of 20th century history and professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center
- 2008—Donald Kagan, author of the magisterial four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War and Sterling Professor Emeritus of History and Classics at Yale University
- 2007—Gertrude Himmelfarb, professor emerita of history at the CUNY Graduate Center
- 2006—Harvey C. Mansfield, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Government at Harvard University
- 2005—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.
ACTA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education. We receive no government funding and are supported through the generosity of individuals and foundations. For more information, visit GoACTA.org, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Doug Sprei
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SOURCE American Council of Trustees and Alumni