Regents increase Yudof’s salary

Kristin Gustafson

Amid rumors that other schools are trying to recruit University President Mark Yudof, the Board of Regents voted unanimously to put him among the highest-paid presidents in the Big Ten.
The board voted Friday to raise Yudof’s salary by $50,000 annually. That increase brings his total base salary to $325,000.
“We wanted to be proactive in offering him the best contract we could,” said board chairwoman Patricia Spence.
“I know he’s received phone calls from people in Texas,” she said, referring to recent rumors that Yudof’s former employer, the University of Texas, is considering him for a chancellor position.
Yudof rebuffed the rumors: “I am not a candidate anywhere,” he said. “I’m happy with where I am.”
Yudof also said rumors that he might be a potential candidate for a U.S. presidential Cabinet position following the 2000 elections are not true. Yudof said he knows George W. Bush from his years in Texas and has consulted the presidential candidate in the past. But he said, “I don’t have any desire to go to Washington and work for the federal government.”
Yudof’s pay increase was also aimed at rewarding him for the “tremendous effort” he’s put toward the academic and sexual misconduct allegations involving the men’s athletics department, Spence said. “I think (the scandals) are wearing on him,” Spence said.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on defense,” Yudof said of the scandals. But he also said he is pleased with where the University is at with other issues.
The University president said he is most pleased with “overall improvements in undergraduate studies.” Increased applications, improved freshman seminars, fixing up classrooms, and more University housing are included in Yudof’s list of improvements.
Yudof also said he is pleased with the “on-time and on-budget” follow through with campus buildings, the appointment of several professors and the design initiative.
Increased efforts to address gender equity in athletics is another achievement of which Yudof is proud. “I’m a big believer in gender equity.”
In addition to the raise, regents extended Yudof’s contract by one year, to 2002.
Yudof will also receive an additional $33,000 above and beyond his salary for each fiscal year he stays at the University through 2001. And if he stays through 2002, Yudof will be rewarded with an additional $75,000.
The board is also considering adding a long-term care policy with an estimated value between $6,000 and $10,000.
The amended contract followed the board’s presidential performance review committee’s report.
The regents’ review of the president consisted of assessments in nine major categories: academic leadership, administrative management, fiscal management, planning, fund raising, relationship to the Board of Regents, relationships with internal constituencies and relationships with external constituencies.
“I was as thrilled by the performance evaluation as the pay increase,” Yudof said. He said he was pleased by the confidence the board showed in him.
“We heard so much positive feedback about his leadership and wanting the board to do what they could to retain him in Minnesota and to be proactive about it,” said Warren Larson, regent and University presidential performance review committee member.
Regents wanted a contract that was competitive nationally for Yudof, Larson said. Several Ivy League schools will be going through searches in the near future, in addition to Texas, and the regents wanted Yudof to be happy with his contract.
“It’s not just the contract or the money that keeps people,” Larson said. “(Yudof) knows that as well.”
With continued good working relationships with the board, faculty, alumni, senior management and the community, “It would make it awfully difficult for him to choose somewhere else,” Larson said.
After receiving the review and the raise, Yudof thanked the board for their patience with him during the past two years as University president: “Like showing up a half-an-hour late because I was lost.
“I feel very fortunate to have the support that I have,” Yudof said.
The raise followed Yudof’s report of the president to the board where he praised administrators, faculty and staff for their efforts in the University’s success.
He specifically praised the University’s incoming class of freshmen, deeming them the most academically prepared in the University’s history.
Yudof attributed this to “soaring” admission application numbers, a rising average class rank and the record percent of freshmen living in University housing.
Future goals for Yudof include improved financial aid services, increased residential housing, more interdisciplinary initiatives and getting technology discoveries into Minnesota’s economy faster. Yudof also would like “at least one quarter of the students traveling abroad,” he said, “so we are not quite so insular in Minnesota.”

Kristin Gustafson covers University administration and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3211.