Purdue University's first Asian American president takes office amid controversy over Northwest chancellor


Dr. Mung Chiang officially became the first Asian American president of Purdue University at the start of the new year.

The Purdue Board of Trustees announced in June that it had unanimously elected Chiang as the new president to succeed former president Mitch Daniels.

Prior to assuming office, Chiang served as the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering and executive vice president for Strategic Initiatives.

Originally from Tianjin, China, Chiang earned a B.S. in electrical engineering and mathematics, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

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In 2016, while teaching at Princeton University, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in Engineering for his work.

He is also a prolific entrepreneur and inventor who has founded three companies and currently holds 25 U.S. patents.

Chiang’s election comes amid recent controversy involving Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon, who drew backlash last month for mocking Asian languages.

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A video of Keon doing a mock impersonation of Asian languages during a commencement ceremony on Dec. 10 went viral.

Keon has kept his position despite overwhelming demands for his resignation and a vote of no-confidence in Keon’s leadership cast by the faculty and staff of Purdue Northwest on Dec. 20.

Observers and advocates are now hoping Chiang will address the issue regarding the chancellor.

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