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Mearns Declines Salary Increase, Bonus at NKU Regents Retreat

Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns declined a pay increase and bonus during a special meeting of the Board of Regents, board chair Nathan Smith announced in a letter to the NKU community.

At its retreat at the NKU METS Center in Erlanger, the board evaluated Mearns' performance.

"Among many other things, the Board was very pleased with the progress on the implementation of the strategic plan, the programming and design of the health innovation center, and the President’s strong advocacy for an outcomes-based funding model," Smith wrote. "Notwithstanding financial constraints, the University continues to invest in long-term strategies, including those initiatives that will increase enrollment, as well as retention and graduation rates.  Last year, the University conferred the largest number of degrees in our University’s history, and we presently anticipate that the incoming freshman class will be the most academically qualified in our University’s history.   

"As a Board, we have great confidence in the President.  We are grateful that he has faithfully served our University with integrity and distinction.  We also have great confidence in our faculty and staff leaders.   

"Because of our confidence in President Mearns, members of the Board unanimously agreed that the President was deserving of a performance raise – just as our faculty and staff are very deserving of performance raises.  President Mearns declined a pay increase because we were not able to provide performance raises this year to our faculty and staff." 

The Board also offered Mearns a $25,000 performance bonus per his contract, but the president, hired in 2012, declined for the second straight year. The money, Smith said, would instead be directed towards the Mearns/Proud Family Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships for first-generation students.

Mearns' salary is approximately $350,000 per year.

-Staff report

Photo: Geoffrey Mearns

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