Trustees Extend UI President’s Contract by a Year


University of Illinois (UI) trustees Thursday has formally extended university President Robert Easter's contract by a year. Easter's renewed contract including potential bonus wages is valid through June 30, 2015.

Easter, 65, was chosen as the school's president in March 2012 for a period of two years following the resignation of Michael Hogan.

"A lot of people think of him as providing stable leadership. I would describe him as being a dynamic leader, even as he has provided stability on a personal level," said Christopher Kennedy, board of trustees chairman.

"I think he has brought a positive sense to the university as a whole and to our campus that was much needed in the aftermath of the Hogan experience. It's a sign of his dedication to the institution that he keeps accepting these jobs," said Nicholas Burbules, UI education Professor.

Kennedy said that the added compensation is estimated to be around $100,000 this year. The first bonus payment will paid in September and will be based on previously set performance goals, including diversifying the student body, reducing administrative expenses and growing campus leaders.

"We ... think he is underpaid relative to his peer group probably by about $200,000," Kennedy said. "He has no interest in taking that large an increase." Kennedy said Easter did not approve of a higher salary, "but we don't think we should take advantage of (him)."

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average salary for public university presidents in 2011-12 was about $440,000. Easter's $450, 0000 salary is $200,000 less than what Hogan earned as a president.

His tenure at the university started in 1973 as a graduate student and earned his Ph.D. from the UI. Then, he served as a faculty member in animal sciences, department head; dean of the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; interim vice chancellor for research and interim Urbana campus provost. He retired as the school's interim chancellor in 2011 before being asked to replace Hogan.

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