Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee will donate his nearly $300,000 bonus this year to a scholarship fund for OSU students and other university initiatives.
He announced the donation yesterday afternoon immediately after the university’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the bonus and a $16,042 raise for the president, which represents a 2 percent raise approved for all faculty and staff at OSU.
“Members were consistently impressed with the president’s brilliant, inspiring, charismatic and visionary leadership,” said Alex Shumate, chair of the Committee of Trusteeship for the Board.
Gee maintains his position as the highest-paid president of a public university in the United States. Last year, he received about $1.6 million, including about $800,000 in public money, according to a survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The bonus comes from privately donated money rather than public funding or tuition.
Last year, Gee opted to donate his more than $200,000 bonus and a raise of about $20,000 to a scholarship fund for OSU students. This year, he donated his $296,786 bonus to a scholarship fund and other university initiatives.
However, this year Gee did not forfeit his raise, said Shelly Hoffman, an OSU spokeswoman.
In presenting the evaluation, the board highlighted accomplishments such as improved retention and graduation rates, an increase in research funding, and new university offices in
Shanghai, among other accolades.
“It is clear, based on President Gee’s achievements against the university’s strategic objectives, that he merits a maximum bonus for exceeding target performance,” Shumate said. “Without a doubt, we would unanimously choose him again as our president.”
Alex Swain, the undergraduate student on the Board of Trustees, echoed Shumate’s commentary.
“In times of uncertainty, Dr. Gee’s leadership and experience have provided the university with needed certainty,” Swain said in a prepared statement. “He is truly the best at what he does, and we are lucky to have him here.”
Gee’s 2008-09 base salary was $802,125, while his total compensation package was nearly $1.6 million, according to The Chronicle. He also receives a house from private sources and a car provided by the state.
Although Gee was the highest-paid leader of a public university last year — followed by Mark A. Emmert of the University of Washington — The Chronicle reported that 23 presidents of private universities made more than $1 million last year.
“I get such great joy from giving back to the students,” he said. “This is a great moment.”