The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees met late this afternoon to determine President George E. Ross' 2015 compensation. With praise for his leadership and the achievements of the entire CMU community, the board unanimously voted to adjust his base salary to $430,000, effective Jan. 1.
"Whether you look at the 27 percent enrollment gain this fall, the increasing caliber of our students, or CMU's robust and expanding academic strengths, President Ross and his leadership team are having historic impact," Board Chair William Kanine said.
"Dr. Ross and individuals throughout the university are fostering cohesion and energy on campus, among our alumni and with top employers who increasingly say CMU grads are their No. 1 choice because of both the hard and soft skills they gain here.
"George Ross is an asset," Kanine said. "Truly great leaders are rare. When an organization finds a great leader, it must compensate that leader for his or her true value."
With his former salary of $371,280, Ross had been the second lowest-paid president in the Mid-American Conference.
His new salary will place him sixth among the 13 MAC schools, behind the presidents of Kent State, the University of Akron, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Ball State. Three MAC institutions (Ball State, Kent State and the University of Akron) all hired new presidents this summer with starting salaries of $450,000.
All CMU salaries are measured against market value, which board members said validates today's decision.
The trustees also unanimously approved an annual retention payment of $30,000, made each June 30 starting in 2015.
Ross is a finalist for the presidency at the University of Nebraska, which has four campuses, 50,000 students and a $2.4 billion budget.
Asked if that candidacy is a factor in today's decision, Kanine said it is.
"The University of Nebraska has discovered our secret — that George Ross is a great, proven leader. While we can't match their budget, with this compensation package and the opportunity to finish shaping what CMU will be for the next century, we believe we stand a good chance of convincing the president and Mrs. Ross to stay," Kanine said.