It was not a typical Thursday afternoon on campus as Governor Mike Pence visited the university Nov. 6.
Local media outlets such as The Herald Press, NBC33 News covered the governor’s visit while the Huntingtonian, FDN News and FDN Radio led a press conference that took place on the first floor in Loew-Brenn Hall.
Pence said he was visiting to “encourage the great leadership and the great student body here at Huntington University.”
“This is a great school, and it has a national reputation among Christian institutions around the country,” he said.
“I wanted to come here and encourage, but I also want to learn and look for ways that the state of Indiana can provide additional support for all the good work that’s being done here.”
Pence, a Republican, said he was pleased with results of the elections Nov. 4 in which the Republican party took control of the House and Senate in a historic sweep.
“We elected three conservative leaders to the statehouse,” he said, “Three women who brought extraordinary background and capability as our secretary of state, treasure and auditor. … I think it’s just as important that at the state level – especially here in Indiana – that we saw the American people turning and re-affirming common sense conservative leadership.”
Pence, rumored to be a potential 2016 candidate for president, did not say “yes” or “no” to running for president some day but said he is always “flattered” by the question.
“My focus is Indiana,” he said. “It’s very humbling for me to have the opportunity to serve in this role and I’m going to focus all my energies on the future of the people in Indiana, will let my future take care of itself.”
He was also asked why future educators should be optimistic about the future of education in Indiana. Indiana dropped the Common Core national education standards Aug. 2014 and developed its own state standards.
“One of the things I’m really focused on is I want to make a career in vocational education a priority in every high school in our state,” he said, “So that the young people are able to get the background training and education here in Huntington. They’ll have a much better idea of what path they’re on when they want to pursue a college education, or maybe in the alternative, their own God-given abilities are calling them to go ahead and start work and get a good paying job here in Huntington after high school and pursue an education after that.”
Pence’s wife is a teacher and that helps him understand the profession, he said.
“I think teaching is a calling, whether you’re a university president or you’re a classroom teacher,” he said. “You got a calling in your life that can make a difference in younger lives.”
Pence was asked about his thoughts on the new agriculture program launching at the university and if there will be more collaborations with higher education programs.
“In our core, Indiana is agricultural,” he said. “It’s not just a core identity, it’s not about beautiful landscaping you get to drive through, beautiful forests. … Indiana is one of the leading exporting states in America because of our agricultural products, and so we know that our administration is deeply committed and will continue to provide collaborations with higher education.”
Pence also visited a business class and answered various questions from the students of the class. The class ended with the student praying over the governor.
View tweets about the governor’s event here.