Boiler Up

Well, that was fun, woke up this morning and could only go to Google, amazing what a broken firewall can do for you. Seems to be working now, though. Yay! So an easy one for today, since I’m already a few hours late with my schedule. 😦

From DC Whispers.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has had one of the longest and most productive NFL careers ever. He’s a devoted family man who donates both considerable time and his own money to a multitude of community causes that benefit people of all races and socio-economic backgrounds.

He’s also a Christian and for that, he’s now being targeted by the radical fringe left who want him run out of the NFL for advocating that kids take their Bibles to school with them.

Yes, you read that right. This is the thinking of some in America who are totally devoted to a totalitarian, far-left group-think mentality that wants to destroy anything different than themselves.

Isn’t that special? Increasingly that is the world today, it will change but when is hard to tell, and it may get worse before it gets better. But it’s not everyone. Brees is one of my fellow Boilers, and even before we became the Cradle of Astronauts we were the Cradle of Quarterbacks if you’re my age you might remember Len Dawson or Bob Griese.

But Purdue has always been about more than football (or basketball) and while Drew Brees may be one of the immortal quarterbacks (he is), three Purdue QBs are playing in the NFL. This is from Purdue.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Every Boilermaker is aware of the prowess Drew Brees possesses on the football field. Now, the Purdue graduate is being honored for his activities away from football.

Brees is one of 33 business school graduates honored by AACSB International – the world’s largest business education alliance — as the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders. The annual challenge recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Brees is a 2001 graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. In addition to setting NFL records with the New Orleans Saints, he founded the Brees Dream Foundation, which has contributed almost $25 million to improve the quality of life for people around the world since its inception in 2003.

One example of Brees’ efforts to help his community is his support of the Team Gleason House in New Orleans, named for Steve Gleason, a former Saints teammate who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The house is equipped with the latest computer-operated technologies to allow individuals with ALS the highest independence possible. Brees’ foundation also helped fund improvements to Joe Brown Park, transforming it into a world-class regional park to enable children and families to be healthy and active.

Brees’ reach extends beyond New Orleans. In 2011, he was appointed an ambassador for the World Food Programme, a United Nations branch and the world’s largest humanitarian organization to fight against hunger. He supports high schools around the nation through the Drew Brees Passing Academy and 7-on-7 Tournament, and his work with Convoy of Hope has helped support families that were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Brees was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2010 and was described as “an athlete as adored and appreciate as any in an American city today.” He also has become a successful entrepreneur; in 2018, he came in at No. 17 in the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

“AACSB is honored to recognize Drew Brees and congratulates Purdue University for its role in preparing alumni who are leading examples of business education as a force for good in the world,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “The diversity of backgrounds, industries and career paths of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders demonstrates that AACSB-accredited schools are preparing graduates to succeed wherever their passions may take them.”

Now in its fourth year, the Influential Leaders challenge has recognized almost 200 business school graduates for creating lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree from one of the more than 800 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. Brees is the fourth Krannert graduate to be recognized, joining Beth Brooke-Marciniak (2015), Carolyn Woo (2015) and Shawn Taylor (2016).

Can’t speak for you, but I’m quite happy to be associated even in this distant way to Drew Brees, and Grubb and his ilk, need a football where the sun don’t shine – sideways.

And about the Purdue Vanderbilt game today, I have a prediction – The Gold and Black will win. I just don’t know which shade. 🙂

American Historic Moments; Then and Now

Don Troiani- “The Last Salute” HAP

Our friend, Practically Historical, reminds us that 154 years ago today General John B Gordon (seven times wounded, including 5 Minnie balls at Antietam) by order of General Robert E. Lee, surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia, to General Joshua L. Chamberlain (won the Medal of Honor at Little Round Top at Gettysburg, wounded six times, nearly mortally at Petersburg, and cited 4 times for bravery) of the Army of the Potomac.

As the Army of Northern Virginia marched past the Army of the Potomac, Chamberlain ordered the Army to “Carry Arms” (the marching salute) in respect, and at Gordon’s order, the Confederates responded. Chamberlain described the scene:

At the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow, and General Gordon dropped his sword point to his toe in salutation.”    Gordon truly understood the significance of the gesture, “Chamberlain called his men into line and as the Confederate soldiers marched in front of them, the veterans in blue gave a soldierly salute to those vanquished heroes—a token of respect from Americans to Americans.”

There is a lesson there for those who would destroy the heritage of the Confederacy. At least 300,000  Americans died upon those fields to (amongst their reasons) to destroy chattel slavery in America. At the end of it, they respected their opponents enough to salute them in honor, and the Confederates enough to return the salute. Without a worthy enemy, there is no honor, and so far no more worthy enemy for American arms has ever appeared than American arms. Both sides fighting for freedom, even if their definitions differed. When you denigrate the Confederates, you also denigrate the forces that fought them and freed the slaves.

And so with salutes and honors, and with terms that meant no proscription lists and no hangings, America’s hardest war ended.

Then there is this:

That is the first ever photograph of a Black Hole, something so dense that even light cannot escape. So how can we take its picture? It’s complicated. Here’s part of the explanation.

And this:

Both of those are some seriously good explaining of a subject that is quite hard to understand.

But how did this happen? A badass stem professor, of course. In fact, a Cal Tech professor with a doctorate from MIT, who graduated from West Lafayette High School. And back in the day when she was in high school used to work with her dad’s colleagues, professors at Purdue. Professor Dr. Katie Bouman. Her dad is Charles Bouman, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Purdue. Wonder what dinner conversation was like in their house.

She explained in a TED talk what she was trying to do a couple years ago as well.

And it worked, as the picture above indicates. Pretty cool, essentially turning the entire Earth into a camera.

This is a very big deal, confirming relativity amongst other things, and another major major accomplishment for American science. I’m not a huge fan of government subsidizing stuff, but I’m not sure that any corporation would really see the point of this research, although I’ll bet there will be commercial benefits derived from it. Most corporations these days are insanely short-sighted about research. Hammer and Rails reminds us:

The combined budgets of NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Health (NIH) are just over $63 billion for FY 2019. That may sound like a lot, but when you consider that the US’s 2019 federal budget is $4.746 trillion, the three major scientific foundations and government institutions that allow for such ground breaking scientific research account for just under 1.5% of the federal budget.

For just 1.5% of our budget, we’re able to fund the great work of Dr. Bouman, along with other great scientists at Purdue, the Big Ten, and beyond. While Dr. Bouman didn’t go to Purdue (I guess I can’t blame her for going to MIT instead), her connections to the university allowed her to cultivate her passion in the STEM fields, and it shows that the impact of Purdue continue into interstellar space.

Congrats to Dr. Bouman, former President Córdova, and all the researchers involved in the Event Horizon Telescope.

Yep, and MIT had a couple things to say, as well. First, they noted how important women in Stem are to our success in space.

As noted in the comments to the Tweet above, all these women, and all of us men, as well, follow in the footsteps of Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron who wrote the first algorithm. And this:

Assaulting the Golden Goose

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Hunt Lawrence and Daniel J. Flynn, writing in The American Spectator make some interesting points on how they think Big Business gaming the Tax Code parallels Hollywood stars bribing their kids into elite colleges. Let’s take a look.

In the wake of Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, and other parents allegedly using the foul means of their considerable means to gain admittance for their children to elite schools, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants to end deductions for parents who donate to schools their children attend. Wyden cites deductions for the naming of campus buildings and scholarships, and for sports tickets, as of particular concern.

This is, apparently, not Ted Kennedy’s Democratic Party.

“[H]eadlines about the wealthiest Americans buying access to our elite colleges and universities is just a new version of an old story,” he explained after the scandal broke. “While the prosecutor attempted to distinguish these crimes from payoffs in the form of buildings or stadiums to secure access for the undeserving, it is all part of the same corrupt system.”

Is it? I’m not sure. Bribing your kids into a school is certainly wrong, no question at all, and it hurts the kids that might otherwise have been admitted, they are the victim here.

But giving scholarships and or donating building is quite a lot different, I think. Yes, a few kids might not be admitted for a (possibly) unqualified offspring of the donor to be. But data suggests that legacy admittees are well above average, so it is questionable.

What is not questionable is that the building or the scholarship, or for that matter the golf course, will benefit many other students and the local population than the donor’s descendants. I don’t think it is the same thing at all. It is an (at least) quasi-public benefit.

Remember my Alma Mater, Purdue got its starts because John Purdue a wealthy local businessman contributed $150,000 plus a hundred acres of land to another $400,000 in contributions. That gave Purdue a good start to becoming an exceptional University and greatly benefitted the Lafayette area as well. Not the same at all as buying admittance for your kid, is it? But yes, he got his name on the whole joint. Most universities have similar stories.

The authors go on to compare this with Amazon paying not taxes again this year.

Amazon, certainly as famous as Lori Loughlin, manipulated the tax code in such a way as to pay zero in corporate income taxes for the last two years.

“Amazon, the ubiquitous purveyor of two-day delivery of just about everything, nearly doubled its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018 from $5.6 billion the previous year and, once again, didn’t pay a single cent of federal income taxes,” the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy points out. The online behemoth, in fact, reported a tax rebate of $129 million for 2018. Just as YouTube celebrity Olivia Jade took a deserving kid’s spot at USC, Amazon took a tax rebate better used to fix a road, pay a soldier, or reduce the debt.

Amazon, like parents who time donations to colleges in anticipation of a child seeking admittance, does not break the law. But to most it seems like they take advantage of the existing law, which begs for reform.

Amazon, like Laughlin and Huffman, did not alone transgress decency here. They merely acted as the most famous of those who did. They used shortcuts. But they did not create these shortcuts.

In the case of Amazon, the same government deprived of revenue created the shortcuts. And despite political rhetoric decrying the Trump cut of the corporate rate, the rates do not represent the problem. The labyrinthian loopholes do.

This is simply poppycock. The politics of raw envy in action. Nobody is insinuating that Amazon even lobbied for these loopholes. They exist. I’m no great fan of Bezos but, there is no shame in paying the lowest tax that one can legally. In fact, it is immoral for a company to deprive its shareholders, whether one or millions of them, of the profits of the company, derived legally. Judge Learned Hand* said it best:

Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. public duty to pay more than the law demands.

The only time that would change is if Amazon (or its stockholders) bribed Congress or the President, or for that matter the IRS to put in the loopholes. That many of them are unfair is pretty much a given, but they exist, and they exist for all taxpayers that they apply to equally.

Would a very low flat tax without deductions and only on individuals be more fair? Yes, Yes, it would. But to essentially accuse Amazon of tax evasion for doing what is not only legal but their fiduciary duty is well beyond the pale.

*Judge Hand was, in fact, a Progressive, although also believed in judicial restraint to a point, although he did indulge in legislating from the bench. What many conservatives today would call a “Hack-in-Black”.

A Mild-Mannered Radical

Courtesy of Mitch Daniels’ office

In Reason’s April issue, Katherine Mangu-Ward interviewed one of my favorite people, Mitch Daniels, President Bush’s Head of the OMB, former Governor of Indiana, and since 2013, President of Purdue University.

It’s really good stuff about a guy that in a fell stroke revamped much of the public sector in Indiana, Who while building further one of America’s great world-class universities, has not increased tuition in 7 years.

Who took the initiative to adopt verbatim the University of Chicago’s Chicago letter on free speech, and earning again the green check mark from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (FIRE). Only three schools in Indiana have, Purdue, Purdue Fort Wayne, and Purdue Northwest. That school down south has a yellow one, and Notre Dame a red one.

The best University president in America? I think he may be, but then, I would, wouldn’t I? Here’s some of the interview.

At first glance, Mitch Daniels seems rather bland. His hair is straight and tidy. His suits are understated but tasteful. He speaks slowly and in quiet tones. He gently declines to answer questions about the failings of other politicians. And he seems genuinely mortified when he accidentally refers to his interviewer as Meghan.

But Daniels’ record as governor of Indiana could best be described as radical. During his governorship, which ran from 2005 to 2013, he decertified all government employee unions on his first day in office, managed to defeat teachers unions in a pitched battle for school choice, imposed tough spending austerity and raised taxes to balance the books, and inspired the Democrats in Indiana’s legislature to walk out at the beginning of his second term over a right-to-work bill. In his previous gig as the head of George H.W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, his nickname was “the Blade.”

In his regular Washington Post column, Daniels seems to delight in triggering his readers. He has advocated relocating all the major federal agencies away from Washington, D.C., defended the morality of genetically modified foods, and most recently called for the abolition of the “tasteless, classless spectacle” of the State of the Union.

He also rides a motorcycle and was indicted for marijuana possession as an undergrad at Princeton.

In 2010, he told The Weekly Standard that the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues” in the face of a mounting fiscal crisis. Between the kerfuffle caused by those remarks and his desire for privacy about an unorthodox relationship history—he and his wife married each other twice, with a break in between—he ended up stepping back from politics.

Since 2013, Daniels has been running Purdue University. If you talk to one of the people on his team, they refer to him as “President Daniels.” On the phone, it’s all too easy to imagine he’s calling from an alternate dimension where he actually ran for president of the United States—as many of his associates and the national media believed he would in 2012—and won. And after a wide-ranging conversation in January, it’s hard not to think that might have been a better, freer, calmer timeline than our own.

In January, Daniels spoke with Reason‘s Katherine Mangu-Ward about free speech, the power of unions, and whether it’s already too late to avert a full-fledged American economic collapse.

Reason: These days, our national politics can sometimes feel like it’s oriented around student debt and educational availability. You’re trying some unusual solutions to these problems as president of Purdue University, including not raising tuition over the last seven years.

Daniels: The tuition freeze began as a one-year time-out, a gesture to indicate sensitivity to what was plainly—even in 2012 or ’13—a growing burden. Often when people ask for an explanation, I’ll tell them what we didn’t do. They want to know what kind of voodoo we practiced and I say: Here, let me allay all your suspicions. We didn’t cheapen the faculty. We had one of the highest ratios in the country of tenure-track faculty. We didn’t downshift to so-called contingent or temporary or part-time teaching. We didn’t get any more money from the state. In fact, slightly less. We didn’t dip into the reserves—they’ve been growing every year. We didn’t resort to a sleight of hand through other fees in lieu of tuition. There haven’t been any of those either. So the way I usually frame it is that, if a place like ours can do those things and run in the black on an operating annual basis while investing, while maintaining quality, why would you raise tuition? It ought to be the last resort, not the first instinct.

Sometimes we solve the equation for zero. Zero meaning zero increase in tuition. If you start with that premise—that’s our objective, that’s our goal—you can frequently make systems and budgets and practices adapt to that. It serves the very same purpose that a balanced budget requirement can in government or a flat topline sales number or revenue number can in business. When you have to, you do. And sometimes it’s easier than you thought it’d be.

Income share agreements (ISAs) have been somewhat controversial but also now seem to be potentially a Silicon Valley darling. These are arrangements where students sign a contract and some or all of their education is paid for. Then when they get a job, they hand over an agreed-upon percentage of their income for a fixed period of years. Purdue has been experimenting with them. How did you come across the idea?

It has been out there since Milton Friedman a half a century ago. I’d read it somewhere and knew about it. I got cornered into going down and testifying in Congress; I usually try to avoid those things. The subject wasn’t ISAs or even higher education finance—it was about innovation in education. I offered up a few thoughts about ways the federal government should get out of the way of innovation, some regulations and so forth. And almost as a throwaway example, I mentioned ISAs. If there were less ambiguity around some of the tax laws, I thought, this idea might finally take wing. I was astonished by the amount of press interest in it. I got engulfed as soon as the hearing was over, over this throwaway line.

I immediately began hearing from what turns out to be an incipient industry out there of people who like this, who want to see this idea get airborne. And I discovered that there were people hoping to operate businesses to administer these things and funds to invest in ISA contracts. So away we went.

Do keep reading, it’s a fairly long article, but a very good one.

Sometimes the Good Die Young

It’s funny how our lives develop. When I was in sixth grade, dad asked me out of the blue, whether I wanted to continue in the township school I was attending, or switch to the new consolidated one, next door. He didn’t attempt to influence my decision in any way, although he did mention that they were going to have a football team. 🙂

Well, if you looked at me, even then, it was pretty obvious that basketball wasn’t my sport, but football might well be. That’s what I saw in the mirror as well. It was a pretty easy choice, really, and academics did enter into it, new chem labs, and all new stuff in the shop (that I would only manage to find 6 weeks for in high school).

But football was important too. The striving to be the best, the physical conditioning, and especially the teamwork Intermural sports are probably one of the best features of American education.

Then that fall, dad came home on Friday with three tickets to a Purdue Game. Then, as now, Purdue was kind of a spotty team. Any given day, they could beat the best in the nation, but you could be pretty sure this was not that day. Len Dawson was long since graduated and Bob Griese was a few years in the future. (Yep, I saw him play four times in college).

And that is how I became a Purdue fan and has a fair amount to do with how I became a Purdue Alumni, as well. My grades weren’t bad, and a fair number of people said I was smarter than the grades indicated. That’s certainly possible, high school bored me silly. So I did the sensible thing, I applied to the school my sisters attended, Valparaiso University, the one my brother in law attended, Purdue, and another local school, Notre Dame.

Rather a bit like kicking the can down the road, all accepted me. Purdue won, not least because it was affordable, being the Indiana Land Grant college. My BIL, a Purdue civil engineer, said I could do the work of an engineer, but would never make it through school. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t, and I’ve done the work for 40 years.

Probably a lot of stories much like this, about Purdue, and other Universities, all over the world. I’m nothing special, after all. But some are.

If you watch college football, you likely saw the Purdue – Ohio State game last fall, where Purdue ran all over the number 2 team in the country. If so you heard something new. Purdue base chant for more or less ever has been “IU Sucks” always appropriate given our feelings for that place down south. It wasn’t heard that night though, it had changed to “Cancer Sucks”. All due to one man.

That man was Tyler Trent, he was a twenty-year-old sophomore, who had to withdraw from his beloved Purdue, and died shortly after Purdue’s bowl game.

Hammer and Rails says it this way:

Coach Brohm also stopped by that evening, and even though Tyler was in the middle of his second cancer fight, his story took off from there. In 15 months he would participate in the Iowa Wave, work for the Exponent covering Purdue’s NCAA Tournament run, continue his fight against cancer, and inspire a nation. When Purdue stunned Ohio State in October it was Tyler’s night. He nearly did not make it to that game, but I am convinced that the energy of that night lifted him these last two and a half months. It sustained him past what his doctors thought. Unfortunately, cancer sucks. Hard. Tyler fought, but now his fight is over.

In the last 15 months the nation has gotten to know Tyler. What amazed me throughout was that it was never about his own fight. When Tyler would tweet it would rarely be about his condition. He only gave updates when they were major, like when he was forced to withdraw from school. Instead, he wrote about about what he could do for others. Here was a young man that knew his time was limited, but he spent every second doing what he could for others. He inspired others. He encouraged others. He strengthened them. His upcoming book is about pulling off an upset of cancer even though it will not physically benefit him. He spoke of how he was encouraged that samples of his tumor might lead to a cure someday, ignoring that meant there was no cure yet for him.

I was always in awe of his humility and his desire to serve.

Mark 10:45 says: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This is the example we are called to follow, and Tyler knew what it meant to serve. Even though his body was failing him, his final tweet from two days ago was about that service:

He’s entirely correct, and it says much about the Big 10 that after the ESPN Interview, at the Ohio State Game, all year both sides joined in the chant: “Cancer Sucks” It does, and its not often that the President of one of the great American Universities takes time to remember a sophomore who has died. But Mitch Daniels did

And so he’s gone, but we of Purdue, and many others will always remember him, and try to emulate him, for I suspect that this is a lesson that John Purdue would teach us as well.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. at College Park Church in Indianapolis. It will be live-streamed here.

#Tyler Strong, indeed, and Rest in Peace for your mission here is done.

Ripples in the Bricks

The title refers to a column in the Purdue Exponent when I was there, and indeed we are going to talk about Purdue today. It’s also mostly a good news post, because we are overdue for one, in my opinion.

Kate Hardiman wrote last December in The Washington Examiner about why enrollment is soaring at Purdue.

New numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that university enrollment has continued to decline for the sixth straight year. Community colleges and for-profit institutions have taken the biggest hit, losing 97,000 students and 69,000 students (on average) respectively. […]

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has pledged that his tenure at Purdue University will bring new efficiency to the stultifying higher education sector — he has frozen tuition through 2019 (one of the only schools in the nation to do so), and has created a new plan to help students earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. Daniels is also tapping into the burgeoning online education sector through a partnership with Kaplan.

Since his tenure began in 2013, Purdue’s undergraduate applications, enrollment, alumni donations, graduation rates, and the number of startups launched by researchers have hit record levels. Daniels recognizes the need to innovate and it’s paying off.

Purdue was the first public University to subscribe to that fantastic letter published by the University of Chicago, but it has gone farther. Alex Morey writing for The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) tells us about that.

Purdue University has been making good on its promises to promote free speech on campus. In May of last year, it became the first public institution to formally commit to upholding free expression by adopting the FIRE-endorsed Chicago Statement, and it eliminated all of its speech-restrictive policies to become one of FIRE’s distinguished “green light” schools. Many universities might have declared a job well done and moved on.

Not Purdue.

Steven Schultz, Purdue’s chief legal counsel, said those sweeping changes instead marked the beginning of a larger, ongoing conversation about the role of free speech at the public university, which serves nearly 40,000 students. More specifically, the developments prompted Schultz, along with small groups of interested faculty and students, to begin discussing how Purdue could create a culture where free expression is truly understood and appreciated in light of these new commitments.

“A consensus started to emerge about the need for a training session and the value it would have,” Schultz said.

And they reached a decision: Free speech would play a starring role in student life from the moment a freshman stepped on campus.

At the direction of university President and former Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels, Schultz’ office began working with Purdue’s Director of Orientation Programs, Kasi Jones, and a newly formed task force within the University Senate’s Equity and Diversity Committee to create a first-of-its-kind free speech orientation presentation for incoming students. The session debuted to great reviews this fall during the first night of Boiler Gold Rush, the university’s weeklong orientation program. (Watch the session in full below, or on Purdue’s YouTube page.)

You know, part of the reason I selected Purdue back in the early seventies was its reputation for concentrating on education, and not all the nonsense which, then as now, liberal politics brings to disrupt one’s education or even completely destroy it.

A while back, Purdue entered a partnership with Kaplan University to widen it’s exposure to adult education – something that has always been in its mission statement as a land grant university. That partnership led to Purdue buying Kaplan. Adam Rusch writing in The Federalist tells us about it.

Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University, shocked the world of higher education on April 27 by announcing the public institution has agreed to purchase Kaplan University. Kaplan is a for-profit school that primarily caters to working adults seeking professional degrees online.

It is really more of an invited corporate takeover than a purchase, with only $1 paid to acquire the assets. In return, Graham Holdings, the current owner of Kaplan, will get a long-term contract to provide marketing, student and faculty support, and technology services for a share of the revenue.

On the surface, the schools could not seem more different. Purdue is an elite public Reseach-1 institution whose faculty received more than $400 million last year in external grant funds. Most undergraduates enroll straight out of high school, and the graduate students are among the top in the world. Best known for its engineering and technology programs, notable alumni include Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, and Brian Lamb. […]

Creating a vehicle that provides practical education to the masses is not a new problem. In fact, it is the very problem that Purdue and other land-grant universities were created to solve in the mid-1800s. The Morrill Act of 1862 turned over federal land to the states so proceeds from their sales could be used to establish colleges that focus on agricultural, mechanical, and “practical education” without excluding the liberal arts. Since 1914, land-grant schools have also run the cooperative extension offices in their states to provide agricultural and consumer continuing education, including the 4-H program for youth.

Read it all, this is the backstory to the Purdue University Global whose ads we have all been seeing. I’d call Mitch Daniels a worthy successor to the many great Presidents Purdue has had.

Success brings problems though. Katherine Tmpf writing in National Review tells us about one at Purdue.

[P]hotos of temporary dorm rooms at Purdue University have prompted people to compare the living spaces to “boot camp” and “prison” — and that’s absolutely ridiculous.

The dorms in question are temporary living spaces that house eight to ten students, according to an article in BuzzFeed. They made news when a student-run paper, Purdue Exponent, posted a photo of them on Instagram.

“Faced with an excess of admitted students, Purdue University Residences continues to place some students in makeshift rooms in the basements and study lounges of residence halls around campus, like these in Shreve and Meredith residence halls,” the Instagram caption stated. [..]

Yeah, well, I lived in Shreve Hall for two years, that furniture is the standard stuff we had, and it is amazingly versatile, probably because it was designed by Purdue undergraduate engineers.

I’ve personally never been to prison (not to brag) but I have seen a lot of Lockup, and I know that prisons are far worse than what’s on offer at Purdue. In prison, there are little tiny toilets in the corners of the rooms, and you’re forced to use them in front of other people — some of whom may be vicious murderers, which I’m guessing these other Purdue students are not. In prison, one of your walls is a cage. You’re not allowed to bring the blanket that your grandma knitted for you to snuggle under to sleep at night. Also, it is my understanding that when you’re in prison you’re not allowed to just leave your room whenever you feel like it. Honestly, the fact that I even have to point out these differences is so absurd that I feel like my head is going to explode. Daring to compare these dorms to prisons is a slap in the face to anyone who is actually incarcerated.

What’s more, these communal rooms actually cost far less than the typical student housing at Purdue. Beth McCuskey, the vice provost for student life at Purdue, told BuzzFeed that the students in these rooms pay “the absolute lowest rate” that the school offers, which is about $1,200 per semester. (According to Purdue’s official website, the typical cost of housing is $6,714 per year — or more than double that cost.)

And that $1200 per semester is less than I paid in Shreve Hall in 1972. Think about that. A world class University where you can live for the same money as 46 years ago. Whoever is paying that bill must love it. And in truth, unless students have changed, except when we were studying, we were rarely in our rooms anyway, we were down in the lounges interacting with other people.

And Purdue attrits a lot of people, so unless you like it, you’re unlikely to be in these rooms long. Hey, it’s always been a tough (otherwise known as excellent) school.

And football season starts next week!

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