The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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June 28, 2014

Susquehanna prez’s pay frozen at $359G

No raises for all as school faces budget woes

— SELINSGROVE — Susquehanna University employees will not receive salary increases in the coming year, will contribute more to health-care plans and will see a reduction in pension matches as the school rebounds from a falling endowment and dwindling student enrollment.

Susquehanna’s endowment stands at $143 million, which accounts for 7 percent of its operating budget, and its enrollment is 160 fewer than its peak, spokeswoman Angela Burrows said this week while defending the $359,000 base salary paid to president Jay Lemons.

“He’s been here 14 years and is now in his third five-year contract with the university, reflecting the confidence that the board has in his leadership,” she said.

Lemons is paid about $100,000 more than Bloomsburg University president David Soltz and about $80,000 more than Indiana University of Pennsylvania president Michael Driscoll, the top-earning president in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Bucknell University spokesman Andy Hirsch would not reveal what president John Bravman is paid.

According to published reports, Indiana University of Pennsylvania has an undergraduate enrollment of 15,379; Bloomsburg, 9,201; Bucknell, 3,536; and Susquehanna, 2,197.

Tuition, room and board at Susquehanna, a private institution, cost just more than $51,000 a year. Annual costs to attend Bucknell — which has an endowment of $719 million, Hirsch said — are $60,140.

Burrows, Susquehanna’s spokeswoman, said the Selinsgrove school’s endowment has rebounded from losses that occurred during the economic downturn.

All Susquehanna workers, Lemons included, will face a salary freeze.

“The pay freeze and other austerity measures will impact all university employees including the president and are being deployed for highly necessary reasons,” Burrows said. “As with many colleges and universities, Susquehanna’s enrollment is down. The decision on the measures was made after much thought and careful consideration with a priority placed on preserving jobs. We regret the hardship caused by these decisions.”

Lemons holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, according to his profile on the Susquehanna University website.

“President Lemons does not set his own compensation,” Burrows said. “It is decided by the university’s board of trustees, which uses an external consultant to benchmark president Lemons’ compensation against presidential compensation at peer institutions.”

“The austerity measures we are taking are in response to our current budget situation. ... There is compensation included in president Lemons’ base compensation that had not previously been included in his base compensation. He is now also receiving an education benefit similar to the benefit offered to the children of all university employees and these benefits will continue through the years his children are in college.”

 

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