I complied with every rule of university policy and with every rule of my contract. For what it’s worth, I will use the honorarium to help fund the two full tuition scholarships that Cheri, my wife, and I are providing to Purdue students in each entering class.
But facts and rules aren’t the determining factor here. Perceptions, and understandable misperceptions, matter even more.
At least for now, I am receiving an extraordinary number of opportunities to bring Purdue to the attention of important and influential audiences like the one in Minneapolis, and I consider that a significant part of my job. I try to weigh in each case the opportunity vs. any downside as to appearances, and have turned down dozens on that basis.
On reflection, this invitation should have fallen on that side of the line. I accept the validity of the criticism and will try to avoid similar judgment errors in the future.