The first session of Purdue University Northwest's 70th annual Sinai Forum commenced on a momentous note on Sunday, September 17 with the presence of Former Governor and Past President of Purdue University Mitch Daniels. The Sinai Forum, which occurs each fall, welcomes four to six notable speakers all geared towards fulfilling one noble mission: providing accessible, exceptional programming that delves into the pressing issues of our time within the dynamic framework of a town hall setting.
The Sinai Forum offers the university and community opportunities for stimulating dialogues on contemporary and significant topics. It functions as a forum where compelling speakers can impart their insights, knowledge, and viewpoints to the audience. Commencing its season at Purdue Northwest's Westville Campus, the Sinai Forum garnered enthusiastic engagement from faculty, staff, and students. It heralds an intellectually invigorating season ahead, beginning with Daniels’ “Never Park the Car: Making Changes When the Changes Say No,” a talk about how Daniels has succeeded in his various roles.
The first rule Daniels offered for success was to take every action with a clear purpose.
“The best thing I could do was paint a picture for how, if we make the right moves and if we take on challenges that are undoubtedly going to come, we will excite other people about what a better future might look like,” said Daniels. “If you can succeed in doing that, sometimes what seemed difficult or impossible turns out not to be.”
Daniels’ illustrious career spans two terms as the Gov. of Indiana, from 2004 - 2012, and a transformative presidency at Purdue University where he served as its 12th president from 2013 - 2022. Throughout his tenures in both politics and academia, Daniels championed the causes of affordability, innovation, and student success.
Daniels, during his time as governor, presided over a period of significant achievements for Indiana. Faced with formidable fiscal challenges, the state made an astonishing transformation, rising from an $800 million deficit to attain its first-ever AAA credit rating. As Daniels highlighted in his address, these accomplishments stand as testaments to the power of pragmatic leadership and effective governance, and that includes handling situations that don’t go as planned.
“Oops is not a hard word to spell, and it's not a hard word to say. If you're open and candid after trying something and it doesn’t workout, most people are very fair. If they understand that your goal is not to achieve notoriety for yourself but to achieve the goal, and you're going to try it again, they'll usually cut you some slack to do so,” said Daniels.
The 70th annual Sinai Forum opened its doors to an enlightening discourse led by a seasoned leader whose impact on both politics and academia is felt to this day. Daniels' journey through the corridors of power, marked by fiscal stewardship, infrastructure development, and educational reforms, was complemented by his visionary leadership at Purdue University, where affordability, innovation, and student success took center stage.
“Great days lie ahead for Northwest Indiana. If people of good will don't quit trying, the possibilities for us to make a better home for businesses and for people are huge. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this great tradition,” said Daniels.
For more information on the upcoming Sinai Forums, please visit pnw.edu/sinai-forum/sinai-forum-2023.