The Richmond Register

Local News

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
Local News
  • 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

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Suicide attempt fatal for inmate

    A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
    George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously

    Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
    Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
    The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
    The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

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