The Richmond Register

Education

May 25, 2013

Benson will be state’s third highest paid university president

RICHMOND — When Michael Benson begins his tenure as the 12th president of Eastern Kentucky University on Aug. 1, his $400,000 salary plus benefits will make him Kentucky’s third-highest paid state university president.

Benson’s pay will be less only than that of Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, $500,000 a year, and Gary Ransdell, president of Western Kentucky University, $423,588 a year, according to figures obtained from the state Council on Post-secondary education.

A large gap falls between the salaries of the EKU, WKU and UK presidents and those of other state university leaders.

After Benson, the highest-paid president in Kentucky is Geoffrey Mearns of Northern Kentucky University, $350,000 a year. The enrollments of NKU and EKU, roughly the same at just under 16,000, are significantly lower than UK or WKU’s, approximately 30,000 and 21,000 respectively.

Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education in Washington D.C., said than although Benson is receiving a larger salary that most of his Kentucky counterparts, he is still receiving less than the median salary of university presidents nationwide.

Hartle pointed to an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education WHICH showed the median salary for a university president in 2011-2012 was $441,392. According to Hartle, salaries have been rising recently for those at the helm of universities because the selection process has changed.

“Selecting university presidents is very different from what it used to be only a few years ago,” Hartle said. “Now it’s a national, if not international search. You’re not just competing with Northern Kentucky and Western Kentucky; you’re competing with schools everywhere.”

Hartle said in the past, the president of a university was traditionally the senior-most member of the faculty. Presidential selections were more local and therefore not as competitive. However, the state of the economy within the last decade has caused schools to focus heavily on finding presidents who can bring in outside support for their institutions.

“College presidents are lasered to be focused on raising money and student enrollment,” Hartle said. “He (Benson) had been a successful president at another institution. He had a good job there, he was loved. To get him to relocate will take some money.”

The salary represents a large spike in what EKU presidents have been paid in the past. Benson’s immediate predecessor, Doug Whitlock, made $259,335 a year during his time as president, and the president before Whitlock, Joanne Glasser, made $175,000 during her time as president from 2001-2007.

The benefits included in the contracts for Benson, Whitlock and Glasser have all been similar. The packages include a vehicle, reimbursement for official travel expenses, insurance and university-paid membership at the Arlington country club.

Traditionally, EKU presidents have lived at the Blanton House, located at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Crabbe Street. However, Benson’s contract states the Blanton House is “presently unfit for use as a residence for Dr. Benson, his spouse and three young children.”

EKU spokesperson Marc Whitt said Benson’s decision to not live in Blanton House was two-fold.

“With having three young children there are safety concerns with how busy Lancaster Avenue is,” Whitt said. “The size of the house is an issue as well. I don’t know when a family that size lived there.”

As an alternative, Benson and EKU came to an agreement that will provide Bensonan allowance of $4,000 a month to pay a mortgage and “general household necessity payments” at a different house in Madison County.

According to a document from the Council on Postsecondary Education, the benefits package at EKU lines up with packages at other universities in the state, including UK and WKU.

In addition to the benefits listed, Capilouto also receives technology support in the form of a Blackberry cell phone and mobile computer. Ransdell additionally receives part-time housekeeping services.

In an earlier statement, EKU Regents Chair Craig Turner said he believes Benson to be “the right man” to lead the university through the challenges it faces.

Benson has the skills to run “a comprehensive fund- and friend-raising campaign that will lead to improved salaries and benefits for Eastern’s faculty and staff and scholarship support for its students,” Turner said.

He expects Benson to: “improve and maximize town-gown relationships and public-private partnerships; enhance Eastern’s efforts to recruit, retain and graduate qualified students; and to forge strong relationships in Frankfort and Washington that will develop or advance regionally-based economic development conditions.”

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.

1
Text Only
Education
  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-4 MightyCasey1a.jpg ‘The Mighty Casey’

    Show times for the 19th-century poem turned opera, “The Mighty Casey,” are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theatre of the EKU Center for the Arts.
    It is presented by the Eastern Kentucky University music department’s Opera Workshop and the EKU Opera Guild, a student organization.
    Opera-goers will have seats right behind the pitcher’s mound as the story of the Mudville Nine and its star player, “the Mighty Casey,” unfolds.
    While living in a “sad little run-down town,” Mudville townspeople rally around their baseball hero to lift their spirits, said director and music professor Joyce Wolf.
     

    April 4, 2014 8 Photos

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results