Mitch Daniels Receives Reason Foundation’s 2015 Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships


Mitch Daniels Receives Reason Foundation’s 2015 Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships

Purdue University President and former Indiana Governor receives inaugural award

On May 5, 2015, Reason Foundation presented its inaugural Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships to Purdue University President and former two-term Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at an event in New York City sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation.

The annual Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships-named for City University of New York Presidential Professor and privatization research pioneer E.S. “Steve” Savas-recognizes an individual or organization whose actions improved the cost-effective provision of public services through partnerships with private organizations.

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. is the 12th president of Purdue University, a post he assumed in January 2013 at the conclusion of his term as Governor of Indiana. Daniels was elected Indiana’s 49th governor in 2004 in his first bid for any elected office, and then re-elected in 2008, receiving more votes than any candidate for any public office in the state’s history. During his tenure, Indiana went from bankruptcy to a AAA credit rating, led the nation in infrastructure building, and passed sweeping education reforms, including the nation’s first statewide school choice voucher program.

Savas Award 1 2015 Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships recipient Mitch Daniels. Image courtesy of Anthony Collins Photography.

His administration implemented several major statewide public-private partnerships, including a long-term lease of the Indiana Toll Road, a major welfare eligibility modernization initiative, and a private management agreement for the Hoosier Lottery. After a series of reforms-which included the passage of a right-to-work law-Indiana’s business climate is now rated among the nation’s best.

At Purdue, President Daniels has made student affordability and student success top priorities, and has pledged to keep a Purdue education within reach for students and families. Reversing a 36-year trend, Purdue commenced a series of tuition freezes in 2013 that will last through at least the 2015-16 academic year. Meal plan rates have also been cut by a total of about 10 percent over the last two years, and room rates have remained at 2013 levels. In that same amount of time, Purdue student borrowing has dropped 18%-giving graduates and their families some $40 million to invest in other dreams. Daniels has also called for greater accountability in higher education, launching the Gallup-Purdue Index, a new method for measuring the value of a college degree. Other top priorities include accelerating growth in three areas that are key to the national economy and support Purdue’s strengths (engineering, technology and computer science); infusing resources in selected areas of research, particularly plant sciences to feed the world; and facilitating commercialization of research.

Previously, Daniels served as President of Eli Lilly’s North American Pharmaceutical Operations, as a senior advisor to President Ronald Reagan and as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Savas Award 1 Dr. E.S. “Steve” Savas and Reason Foundation Founder and Director of Transportation Policy Robert Poole present Daniels with the 2015 Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships on May 5, 2015 in New York City. Image courtesy of Anthony Collins Photography.

Daniels earned a bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton in 1971 and his law degree from Georgetown in 1979. He is the author of three books.

Daniels discussed public-private partnerships, government reform, higher education, and several other topics in a May 2015 interview, available here.

About Dr. E.S. “Steve” Savas

Dr. E. S. (“Steve”) Savas, as First Deputy City Administrator of New York City in 1969, concluded that a principal cause of inefficiency in public services was the monopoly nature of the work, and he argued for deliberately introducing competition between public agencies and the private sector in order to end unnecessary government monopolies and improve public services. His proposal was bitterly opposed, but it initiated the privatization movement. Later, as an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Reagan, he successfully advocated using housing vouchers, a form of privatization, for low-income households instead of building more public housing projects.

As a professor at Columbia University and currently as Presidential Professor at Baruch College of the City University of New York, he pioneered research in this new field. Referred to as the “founder” and the “Captain of Privatization,” in the New York Times1, and as the “father of privatization,”2 his first article (of a career total of 123) on the subject was published in 19713 and his first two books in 1977.4

Textbooks list his work as one of the 34 highlights in the history of public administration along with the work of Plato, Machiavelli, Adam Smith, James Madison, Max Weber, and Woodrow Wilson.56 He is also named as one of the twelve great contributors to public administration in the Twentieth Century, with Herbert Simon, Peter Drucker, and Aaron Wildavsky.7 His eight books on the subject have been published in 21 foreign editions, and he advised and lectured on privatization throughout the United States and in 55 countries.

Savas earned BA and BS degrees from the University of Chicago, MA and PhD degrees from Columbia University, and an honorary PhD from the University of Pireaus (Greece).


1 Tierney, John, “Bringing His Gospel Home: City Hall Lends Ear to Captain of Privatization,” New York Times, May 25, 1995, p. B1.

2 Sirigos, Constantine S., “Steve Savas: Father of Privatization,” National Herald, February 19, 2011, p. 1.

3 Savas, E. S., “Municipal Monopoly,” Harper’s Magazine (December, 1971) pp. 55-60.

4 Savas, E. S., ed., Alternatives for Delivering Public Services, Toward Improved Performance (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1977); Savas, E. S., The Organization and Efficiency of Solid Waste Collection (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Company, 1977.

5 Starling, Grover, Managing the Public Sector, 4th ed. (Ft. Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1993). (This lists the highlights in the history of public administration.)

6 Starling, Grover, Managing the Public Sector, 5th ed. (Ft. Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1998). (This lists the highlights in the history of American public administration.)

7 Greene, Jeffrey D., Public Administration in the New Century: A Concise Introduction (Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005)