Indianapolis Monthly

MR. RIGHT

MITCH DANIELS

has been thinking a lot about loneliness lately. The Purdue University president celebrated his 71st birthday this past April standing at the door of his Carmel home, in the gated Laurelwood community. Outside, in the cul-de-sac 20 feet away, his four daughters and seven grandchildren formed a three-car parade and sang “Happy Birthday” to “Papa.” Daniels could only enjoy it from a distance. Weeks later, he delivered one of his trademark commencement speeches, which often read like a piece by David Brooks, the conservative columnist from The New York Times who tends to tackle big sociological trends. This year’s message, presented in a video recording, focused on the importance of relationships.

“I am not a good role model for the advice I am foisting on you,” Daniels told Purdue grads. “I have not devoted the time I should have to deepen acquaintances into true friendships or to stay in closer touch with the old friends I do have. I’ve let the call of work get in the way. I’ve told myself that jobs of broad responsibility mean that one can’t get too close to coworkers and colleagues. I’ve procrastinated and rationalized, and skipped too many chances to spend meaningful time with people I admire and even love. I regret it, and I’m the worse for it.”

Around that time, Daniels found himself in lonely territory again. In April, as lockdown orders descended across the country, halting everything from dining at restaurants to on-campus instruction at universities, Daniels released what at the time seemed a startling letter. “Purdue University, for its part, intends to accept students on campus in typical numbers this fall, sober about the certain problems that the COVID-19 virus represents, but determined not to surrender helplessly to those difficulties but to tackle and manage them aggressively and creatively,” he wrote. Criticism came hot. Suzette Hackney, the columnist, called the letter “stunning.” It “screams of opportunism,” she wrote. “It screams of chasing dollars. That sentiment is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous.” John Warner, a columnist at , wondered “how many infected, hospitalized and dead members of the community”

Sie lesen eine Vorschau. Registrieren Sie sich, um mehr zu lesen.

Ähnliche Interessen

Mehr von Indianapolis Monthly

Indianapolis Monthly2 min gelesen
Easel On The Eyes
LIFE IMITATES ART, as the saying goes. But at the Zionsville estate of the late, famed artist Nancy Noel, the two go hand-in-hand instead. Noel was renowned for her lifelike paintings of angels, children, and animals, and sold millions of prints. Wit
Indianapolis Monthly4 min gelesenCookbooks, Food, & Wine
Park and Eat
BUILT IN 1931, the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant on Massachusetts Avenue debuted the same year as the Empire State Building, Dick Tracy comic strips, and the U.S. patent for the aerosol can. This glorious Art Deco structure wrapped in white glazed terra c
Indianapolis Monthly1 min gelesen
Indianapolis Monthly
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Michael Rubino DESIGN DIRECTOR Todd Urban DEPUTY EDITOR Daniel S. Comiskey EXECUTIVE EDITOR Megan Fernandez DINING EDITOR Julia Spalding DIGITAL EDITOR Derek Robertson EDITOR EMERITA Deborah Paul CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Robert Annis, Ali