Ohio State awards bonus and pay hike to president

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake will get a 2.5 percent pay bump and a $212,242 bonus after trustees gave him his annual review on Friday.

His base pay will increase to just over $870,000 a year. His benefits package also includes housing, retirement and deferred compensation, a $50,000 expense budget and $100,000 fringe benefit fund, and eligibility for annual bonuses of up to 25 percent of his base salary.

The raise comes amid a tough year for OSU: the Urban Meyer suspension, sex abuse allegations against Dr. Richard Strauss, a public fight with the family namesake of the law school, a trustee resignation, and a growing concern over suicide as three people fell from campus parking garages.

None of those challenges were mentioned in the five-page performance review letter.

Instead, trustees praised Drake’s leadership to improve OSU’s four year graduation rate to 62.4 percent, boost the school’s first-year retention rate to 94.2 percent, increase first-year minority enrollment by 6.4 percent and raise scholarships. He also received kudos for doubling licensing revenue received on inventions from OSU talent, improving finances at the university’s medical center and record-breaking fundraising at $601.8 million in fiscal year 2018.

Drake took over the helm of the university four years ago from E. Gordon Gee, who twice led the school. In April 2017, trustees extended Drake’s contract to June 2021.

Drake was just named chair of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities — the oldest higher education association in North America with 238 institutions, including 74 land-grant universities. He is the first OSU president to chair the organization in nearly four decades.

Drake also just completed a year as chair of the Association of American Universities.

The review letter noted: “While you have established great relationships on a national level, there is an opportunity for our university to strengthen important connections locally and across Ohio with members of the business community and state officials, including our incoming governor.”

Republican Mike DeWine was elected governor earlier this month and is slated to take the oath of office in January, replacing OSU alum and fellow Republican John Kasich, who was barred by term limits from running for a third term.

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