Departing TSA chief tapped to lead Anderson University

Departing Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole has been tapped to lead his alma mater Anderson University. 

Pistole, who graduated from Anderson in 1978, announced last month he was resigning at the end of the year after nearly five years at the helm of the controversial agency to pursue a career in academia. 

Anderson, a Christian school in Indiana, confirmed on Tuesday that Pistole would be returning to its institution. 

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“We are thankful to have this national leader embrace our mission at this time in our history,” Anderson University Board of Trustees Chairman Lou Gerig said in a statement. "He is rooted in the history of Anderson University, the Church of God and the community of Anderson. We look forward to welcoming president-elect Pistole and his wife, Kathy Harp, to the campus community in the near future."

Pistole was appointed to lead the TSA by President Obama in 2010 after a six-year stint as a deputy director of the FBI. 

He has been credited with reforming the TSA, from a one-size-fits-all airport security approach that was criticized by lawmakers and passengers to a “risk-based” approach that focuses more on passengers’ individual backgrounds. 

Pistole has still been at the center of several issues at the TSA despite the change, including an ill-fated push in 2013 to allow small knives on airlines for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

He said when he announced his plans to retire earlier this month that he enjoyed his time at the TSA, despite the multiple controversies. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to have served as TSA Administrator. No words can convey my deep gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the thousands of men and women committed to protecting the American public," Pistole said in a statement on Oct. 16. "I could not be more proud of all that our employees have accomplished together, particularly what they have done to help enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of transportation security while improving the passenger screening experience."