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Board of Trustees awards Drake with raise, $200K bonus

University President Michael Drake speaks at Brutus’ 50th birthday gala on Nov. 6 at the Ohio Union. Credit: Michael Huson / Campus Editor

University President Michael Drake speaks at Brutus’ 50th birthday gala on Nov. 6 at the Ohio Union. Credit: Michael Huson / Campus Editor

The Ohio State Board of Trustees’ praising of University President Michael Drake went from patting on the back to padding in the bank after it approved a $200,000 bonus for the president last week.

Apart from the bonus, which represents 25 percent of the president’s annual base pay of $800,000, the board also approved on Friday a 2 percent raise for the OSU president.

Drake’s base pay, raise and bonus total just less than $1.02 million. Drake said he would donate the total of his raise to yet-to-be-determined philanthropic causes.

In his contract, the president is entitled to receive up to $200,000 under a deferred compensation agreement and is eligible for a maximum 25 percent annual performance award for reaching performance targets and goals.

During the trustees meeting in August, Drake was praised for his commitment to college affordability, including a plan to cut $200 million in university expenditures over the next five years while simultaneously increasing revenue by $200 million.

Also on Friday, the trustees passed a procedure standardizing the approval and review of compensation for university executives. Among these staff, the president’s, university executives’ and Wexner Medical Center executives’ annual compensation will be reviewed by trustees, with trustee consideration of executives’ compensation first being recommended by the provost or medical center CEO and then by the president.

The board also approved granting student trustees full voting rights and inclusion to executive board sessions. The trustees’ power to grant student voting rights was provided with the passing of General Assembly’s House Bill 64 last June, and will take effect on May 14.

In other action, a portion of W. 17th Avenue, between Tuttle Park Place and College Road, has been renamed Annie and John Glenn Avenue to honor the former astronaut and senator, along with this wife, an advocate for people with speech disorders.

“Maybe some student will see the sign that’s named after us and realize a lot of things come down the road. With their experiences at Ohio State, they can make the most of those opportunities,” John Glenn told the board’s advancement committee on Thursday.

The trustees also approved OSU to enter into or increase existing service and construction contracts for several projects at the Columbus campus.

Construction contracts for the Brain and Spine Hospital at 300 W. 10th Ave. were approved for a $2.9 million increase, on top of a $400,000 increase to professional service contracts. The total project budget is set at $17.6 million and will be paid by university debt and auxiliary funds. An additional $500,000 was approved for renovation design of the seventh floor.

The OSU airport will receive a facelift thanks to the trustees’ approval of $2 million in service contracts to redevelop the airport’s terminal and Flight Education Center. Contracts will be paid with development funds. OSU anticipates $20 million in airport design and construction to be outlined in the the university’s FY 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan.

The Board also approved a $5.8 million construction contract for the renovation phase of the Veterinary Hospital’s enhancement and extension project, paid with university debt and university and development funds. Also approved was the increase to the construction amount for the project, which has a total budget of $32.8 million.

A $12.6 million contract toward the construction of a science and engineering building at the Marion campus was also approved on Friday. With a total project budget of $15.5 million, the construction project will create a 32,500-square foot building, a new parking lot and a section of road.


  1. Hmm. I guess my definition of a job well done is different from the BoT’s.

  2. Who in the real world gets a 25% raise? Outragous. This is reflective of what is wrong with America, people are willing to be victims. How high does tuition need to get at OSU before students and citizens get angry enough to protest.

  3. This would be laughable if it were not so offensive and disgusting.

  4. Professor Curmudgeon

    Well, Bob, who in the “real world” ever receives a 25% raise? Lots of people it appears, from corporate executives, to government bureaucrats, to sports executives, to actors, to low-level retail workers. Some examples:

    • James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley: his 2014 salary was $22.5 million, a 25% raise from 2013.
    • The Board members of the Chevron Corporation, who voted themselves a pay raise of 25% in 2013.
    • Bill Thielen, Executive Director of the financially endangered Kentucky Retirement System, whose salary will go from his current $171,200 to $215,000 in 2016.
    • Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, who was paid $2,400,000 from July 1 2010-June 30 2011, and in the following year received $3 million.
    • Tamra Barney (Real Housewives of Orange County) who this season received a 25% raise to her current salary of $750,000.
    • Some Apple Store Workers will receive a 25% raise (according to Bloomberg.com)

    Did any of them deserve their raises? Hard to say, and opinions may reasonably differ about whether Drake deserves his bonus, though none of the posts I have seen here so far give any convincing reason he does not. It might well be appropriate to have a discussion of OSU’s executive pay in general, which is arguably grossly inflated in comparison with faculty and staff salaries. However, the idea that President Drake’s raise is impossibly out of line with what others in positions of similar responsibility are offered just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Here’s the real question that should come to mind when you read this article: how many people who get a 25% raise turn around and give the money to charity? And to those of you who are so incensed about his compensation: when was the last time you contributed your year’s raise to a worthy cause?

    • Curmudgeon seems to have a reading problem. 1) None of this examples are university administrators or presidents. 2) Drake gave his 2% raise to charity, NOT his 25% bonus. 3) OSU’s senior administrators’ salaries are not only out of line with faculty and staff salaries but that at peer institutions.

      Just what did Drake accomplish? The Broad did not say. No one on campus knows either.

  5. I am happy for Dr. Drake. The Ohio State University is fortunate to have exceptional senior leadership. The Lantern does not note the funding streams for the university president’s compensation; but even if the source is tuition revenue, I trust the judgment and decisions of our BoT and senior leadership. OSU is a profoundly well-run large-scale IHE and as a staff member, I feel proud to work under such strong and visionary leaders. As the parent of one current and two more upcoming Buckeyes, I am comfortable with our president being well-compensated. I admire his success and wish him more of it. Do I wish I earned a higher income? Sure; most of us might. Do I wish college tuition was more affordable? You bet. But neither of those has anything to do with Dr. Drake’s well-earned salary and other rewards for a job well done and exceptionally so.

  6. @2112 – Yes. Profoundly well-run institution. Thank you Dr. Gee. We’re enjoying the fruits of your 14 years working to reform the football school I attended. OSU is now a world class institution thanks to you. Dr. Drake hides in his office, probably worried that he might accidentally run into a member of the band.

  7. As a staff member, the amount of his bonus and raise just plain disgusts me. I sure do wish they would give us decent raises. Without us, they would have NOTHING.

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