From the Hartford Courant 12-29-15
By: Gregory Hladky
The University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees voted Monday to extend UConn President Susan Herbst’s contract until 2019 with an overall increase in salary and other compensation that will bring her total compensation to more than $758,000 a year in 2015.
The boost in total compensation for Herbst under the new contract amounts to a 20.7 percent increase over her current contract, which was due to expire in 2016.
A study released by the Chronicle of Higher Education in May estimated the median annual compensation for all American university presidents at $478,896 in 2013, the most recent figures available. The Institute for Policy Studies put the average compensation for top executives at public research universities like UConn at $544,554 a year in2012.
But Herbst’s new contract remains well below those of some of the highest paid public university presidents in the nation. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey for 2012-13 reported that nine public university presidents were making more than $1 million annually.
UConn Board Chairman Lawrence D. McHugh issued a statement saying approval of the new contract was unanimous and that the board “agreed that President Herbst is an outstanding leader and enthusiastically supported extending her contract through 2019.”
“She is a bold, decisive and innovative president,” McHugh said.
“When President Herbst was hired a little over four years ago today, in December 2010, she was offered a contract that paid her less than her predecessor and less than many other presidents of comparable institutions,” McHugh said. “The board’s view was that, if President Herbst excelled on the job, we would act to increase her compensation over time based on performance and merit.”
Under the new contract approved by the trustees, Herbst’s base salary will jump from $525,000 annually to $585,000. The new contract, which takes effect Jan. 1, also includes an additional $80,000 a year in “deferred compensation,” and a performance incentive of $40,000 annually.
As under her old contract, Herbst will also get a $38,000 annual payment toward a “supplemental retirement plan,” use of a university provided car (estimated benefit of $15,000 a year) and free housing at UConn-owned residences on the main Storrs campus and in Hartford. No housing cost estimate was available Monday.
In addition, the trustees voted to give Herbst a “retention incentive” of $125,000 once she completes five years of service as president in May 2016, and a $75,000 retention incentive to be paid if Herbst stays until the end of her new contract in 2019.
Under her original contract, the University of Connecticut Foundation was paying $145,000 of Herbst’s salary and compensation. The foundation will increase its contribution under her new contract to a total of $300,000.
“I’m grateful to the board for their support and confidence,” Herbst said in a statement issued by UConn Monday. “Our state has made incredible investments in UConn and rightfully has very high expectations in return.”
Earlier this year, UConn officials said that cuts in state funding for the university system would require them to increase student tuition by 6.5 percent to help close a potential $42.6 million deficit. Tom Breen, a spokesman for the Board of Trustees, said the entire amount of Herbst’s salary and compensation increase is being covered by the additional contribution from the UConn Foundation.
“No public dollars, and no tuition dollars are involved,” Breen said.
Herbst’s current contract was due to run out in 2016. Her original base salary when she was hired in 2010 was $500,000 a year, and she got a 5 percent raise in 2013 along with a number of other UConn management officials.
The president of the University of Massachusetts, Robert L. Caret, received a 7.5 percent increase this year to bring his annual base salary to $592,921, according to the Boston Globe. In May, the Providence Journal reported that University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley would get a pay increase for 2014-15 to bring his salary to $330,000 a year.
Salaries and compensation for top executives at private colleges and universities are even higher than for public school chief executives.
Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey made almost $3.8 million in 2012, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education report, making him the second-highest paid private school chief executive in the nation. First on that highest compensation list was Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who was paid a total of $7.1 million in 2012.