U of I president awarded $90,000 performance bonus by trustees
BY SANDRA GUY Technology/Higher Education Reporter September 12, 2013 12:38PM
Robert Easter in 2012 (AP Photo/The News-Gazette, Robin Scholz)
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:04AM
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday awarded university President Robert Easter a $90,000 bonus payment for his performance for the past year, reflecting a new program that rewards the top executive for reaching specific goals.
That brings Easter’s annual salary to $552,375, and marks the first time the University of Illinois has awarded its president a bonus on top of a base salary. Easter also was awarded the same average merit-based pay raise of 2.75 percent received by other university employees.
During a meeting in Urbana, the board voted 11-0 in favor of the bonus; one board member was not present. Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy said the new program serves the best interests of the university and taxpayers, linking compensation to progress toward specific goals that advance the school’s educational, research and public service missions.
“The program sets a tangible measure for performance and provides rewards based on achieving those goals,” Kennedy said.
The performance-based approach has been adopted for top executives in industry and by other public universities, including the University of Texas system and Purdue University.
The trustees’ vote took place one day after the University of Illinois announced its second-largest freshman class ever, with 7,331 freshmen enrolled, up 5.7 percent from last year. The largest freshman class in 2005 totaled 7,583. More than half of this year’s new students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school, the university said in a press release.
In July, the board extended Easter’s contract until 2015. Easter, 65, spent his entire career at the University of Illinois and took the president’s post last year after former President Michael Hogan resigned amid controversies.