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Who’s No. 1? 

A roundup of pay to the state’s top college officials.

click to enlarge TOP PAY: Not counting the UAMS chancellor, UA President Alan Sugg would appear to be the most highly paid university chief in Arkansas, with $439, 170 in pay and deferred compensation.
  • TOP PAY: Not counting the UAMS chancellor, UA President Alan Sugg would appear to be the most highly paid university chief in Arkansas, with $439, 170 in pay and deferred compensation.

There has been some talk in the news media recently about the compensation of university presidents, one in particular. So the Arkansas Times asked the presidents and/or chancellors of all the public four-year institutions, as well as the presidents of the two university systems, about their compensation. We specifically asked for “the salary that is set by statute, bonuses and allowances (housing, automobile, etc.) given by governing boards, supplements from private sources such as university foundations, and any other compensation.”

A more detailed accounting is underway by the state Higher Education Department as a result of recent controversy over pay and bonuses extended to Lu Hardin, president of the University of Central Arkansas. The state's institutions are due to submit full reports to the department this week.

Here is the information provided to the Times by their offices. Some provided more than others. The information does not include health insurance and other benefits that are available to all employees of the institution.

Arkansas State University System and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, the largest campus in the ASU system and the only four-year institution: Les Wyatt, president of the ASU System, has a line-item salary of $177,514, which is increased as authorized by statute by 25 percent to make total compensation of $221,892. Robert Potts, chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, has a line-item salary of $164,963, which is increased as authorized by statute by 25 percent to make compensation of $206,203. Potts receives additional compensation from private funds of $20,000, making total compensation $226,203. Neither Wyatt nor Potts receives any bonuses. Both are provided housing and automobiles. Enrollment at Jonesboro in the fall of 2007 was 9,000. Enrollment in the ASU System, including Jonesboro, was 13,265.

Arkansas Tech University at Russellville: Robert C. Brown, president. Salary by statute is $158,078 and total compensation is $197,597, including the 25 percent above line-item that is authorized by state law. A housing allowance of $18,000 a year. A state-owned automobile for official use. “In 2006 the Arkansas Tech University Foundation independently established a deferred compensation plan for Dr. Brown's benefit in retirement. He has received no payments from this fund and may not do so until 2012. All funds included in this plan are strictly from private donations raised solely for this purpose, and the plan is not yet fully funded.” Enrollment is 6,446.

Henderson State University at Arkadelphia: Charles L. Welch, president. Line-item salary is $158,078 and total compensation is $185,000, including the 25 percent salary adjustment and deferred compensation. He's required to live in an on-campus residence; the university provides utilities, maintenance, housekeeping and landscaping. The university provides an automobile also. Deferred compensation of $10,000 a year is to be paid at the end of five years' service. The university pays the cost of membership in any civic organization he chooses to join; private funds may be used for this purpose, if available. Reimbursement is provided for entertaining on behalf of the university, both inside and outside the official residence (membership in the Little Rock Club, for example, and meals associated with official university functions). Both public and private funds may be used for this purpose. Enrollment is 3,118.

Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia: David Rankin, president. Salary is $172,140. SAU provides a car and a $15,600 housing allowance. A $25,000 expense account is provided by private sources. Enrollment is 2,733.

University of Arkansas System: B. Alan Sugg, president. Annual salary is $289,170 ($243,222 from state funds; $45,948 from the University of Arkansas Foundation). The university provides a house and an automobile. “At its meeting Jan. 30, 1998, the UA Board of Trustees publicly authorized the board chairman to request the University of Arkansas Foundation enter into a deferred compensation agreement with President Sugg. Per the board chairman's request, the foundation has made annual payments of private funds to a deferred compensation account for Sugg for the past 10 years. Most recently, in fiscal year 2007-08 the foundation provided $150,000 to that account. Any deferred compensation payment made for the president in 2008-09 and future years will be done so by public vote of the Board of Trustees.” Total enrollment in the UA System is 41,687.

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville: G. David Gearhart, chancellor. Annual salary is $282,540 ($224,286.52 from public funds, $58,253.48 from private funds). The university provides an on-campus house and a vehicle. No housing or vehicle allowance is provided, nor any compensation for such services. Fayetteville Country Club dues of $271.03 a month, and Blessings Country Club dues of $81.94 a month. All the country club dues are paid from private funds. Gearhart also has a memorandum of understanding with the Razorback Foundation, a private group. Under the agreement, he provides fund-raising support and makes public appearances on behalf of the Razorback Foundation, and the foundation pays him $50,000 a year. The university said that Gearhart's total compensation is the lowest of any chancellor or president in the Southeastern Conference, and ranks 23rd among the 25 institutions of the Southern University Group, “which is largely comprised of flagship public universities in the southeastern region of the United States.” Enrollment is 15,567.

University of Arkansas at Fort Smith: Paul B. Beran, chancellor. Salary is $177,000. He receives $33,400 for housing; $15,400 of that comes from the UA Fort Smith Foundation. The foundation also pays Hardscrabble Country Club dues of $354 a month, and Town Club dues of $85 a month. A 2007 Mercury Montego is furnished. Enrollment is 4,696.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock: Joel E. Anderson, chancellor. Salary is $219,366, of which $17,206 is from the UA Foundation. “He lives in a 1960-era ranch style home on campus and drives an 8-year-old Dodge Cirrus provided by the university.” Enrollment is 8,491.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Dr. I. Dodd Wilson, chancellor. Salary is $465,000, of which $174,903 is from state-appropriated funds and the remainder from clinical income generated by UAMS. (State law allows UAMS to use income from patient care to increase the state-authorized salaries of physicians.) Dr. Wilson receives $1,500 a month for housing, and has the use of a state-owned vehicle, “a 1999 Dodge Intrepid.” He receives $231 a month to pay for a membership at the Country Club of Little Rock. “UAMS also uses that membership, but Dr. Wilson pays taxes on this benefit.” He receives no money from private sources.

Because UAMS truly is unique among the state's institutions of higher learning, we'll allow some supplemental remarks. “In addition to overseeing UAMS' educational mission and our five colleges and a graduate school, Dr. Wilson is also responsible for oversight of our medical facilities, including our hospital, the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, and the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute as well as our biomedical research facilities and our Rural Hospital program …” Enrollment is 2,233.

University of Arkansas at Monticello: Jack Lassiter, chancellor. Salary is $172,000. He'll receive a career service recognition payment of $900 in October, as authorized by Act 386 of 2007. “The university provides the chancellor with a residence located on campus and he is assigned an automobile from UAM's motor pool for his use.” He receives no private funds. Enrollment is 2,514.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: Lawrence A. Davis Jr., chancellor. Salary is $177,000. A house with utilities paid is provided, and so is a vehicle. He receives no private funds. “This is the lowest compensation package of any institutional head in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.” Enrollment is 2,878.

University of Central Arkansas: Lu Hardin, president. Salary is $253,774, of which $51,614 is from private sources. UCA provides a residence on campus and an automobile. The privately funded UCA Foundation pays for memberships in the Conway Country Club, the Centennial Country Club in Conway and Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. “President Hardin received a $100,000 bonus through an action of the UCA Board of Trustees in May 2007. The Board of Trustees in 2005 approved a deferred compensation plan worth $300,000 that was scheduled to be paid in 2010 if President Hardin remained at UCA through that time. (They voted in May during executive session to accelerate that payment, but because that vote was not publicly disclosed, President Hardin returned the money. It is unclear at this time exactly when and if he will receive it.)” Enrollment is 10,576.    

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