Next UF president must live in new mansion
Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 7:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 7:56 p.m.
The next president of the University of Florida will likely earn $1 million and be required to live in a new $5 million mansion being built across from the Levin College of Law.
The UF Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a compensation package range of roughly $1 million to $1.25 million — reflecting current market conditions based on a report from the Mercer consulting group.
The board also gave its chairman, Steven Scott, the authority to negotiate within that range the various components of the package: base salary, incentive bonus, deferred compensation and retirement benefits.
Scott said he appreciated the board granting him that flexibility so he can recruit the best candidate to run UF and help it achieve top 10 status among public research universities.
"There is this new group coming in, a generational change, with higher expectations than the average," Scott said. "We will need a person quite ready to give it their all and fire in the belly just to get to the next level."
Only $200,000 of the president’s salary can be funded with tax dollars under state law. The rest must come from private donations.
Mercer's Stephen Pollack and Jayna Patel looked at 12 peer institutions in the Association of American Universities — seven public and five private. UF is the only Florida university, public or private, in that 62-member organization.
All of the institutions compared are top-level research institutions with multiple professional schools, including a medical school, and with broad academic offerings and athletic programs. Some are land-grant universities. Public schools included Ohio State, Penn State and the University of Michigan, and private institutions included Cornell, Harvard and Northwestern.
The institutions also were chosen for their similarities to UF in budget, student population, faculty and staff size, and research dollars. UF has a $4.4 billion operating budget with 41,000 employees and about 50,000 students. It has a research budget close to $700 million.
The average presidential pay for those 12 schools ranged from $907,000 for public ones to $1.14 million for private ones, while the top of the scale was $1.25 million for public presidents and $1.4 million for private presidents. The 75th percentile of those salaries ranged from $1.049 million for public presidents to $1.3 million for the private presidents.
The board was influenced by the fact that three of the public universities — Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan — all hired new presidents within the last six months, giving the most current market data available for the kind of money new presidential hires are commanding.
Ohio State's new president, who starts this month, was given a $1.25 million compensation package. Penn State's new president, who started in May, commanded $1.2 million. Michigan's new president, also starting this month, received just less than $900,000.
"I find it interesting how the market has shifted," trustee Juliet Roulhac said. "It makes a tremendous difference in our ability to hire someone of quality."
Dave Thomas, vice chair of the board, said those three hires represent the benchmark for the next UF president’s compensation and it wouldn’t surprise him if the board wound up paying in the 75th percentile vicinity. “That is the compensation we’re going to have to provide,” he said.
Mercer's study also examined transportation and housing benefits.
Housing is considered a nontaxable benefit if the university requires its president to reside on campus. Eighty-two percent of UF's peer institutions provide a house to the president, and 88 percent require the president to live in that house, Mercer said.
The average house has 18 rooms across 10,000 square feet and a value of $1.6 million.
The next UF president will be required to live in the new president's mansion being built west of the law school.
"It is expected," UF General Counsel Jamie Keith said.
The new 7,500-square-foot president's mansion is being built on Village Drive, just north of the former site of the Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center and west of the law school. Private donations are paying for its construction, including a $3.5 million donation from John and Mary Lou Dasburg of Key Biscayne.
The existing president's house has not been lived in since 2006, when Machen bought a private home off campus. Since then, the current president's house, built in 1953, has been used for alumni offices and public events.
The new mansion will have larger living quarters than the old mansion, office space and a smaller, intimate area for entertaining as many as 20 guests and dignitaries at a time. It also will be wired with state-of-the-art and energy-efficient technology.
Construction is expected to be finished by December.
"It is coming out of the ground very quickly," Keith said.