How much of his salary Eric Kaler has given away

Nice gesture, but think about the job and retirement (MPR Photo / Alex Friedrich)

Just following up on something I tweeted earlier …

University of Minnesota (UMN) President Eric Kaler has given up a second salary raise in a row and ordered it transferred into the U’s general scholarship fund for Minnesota undergraduates.

The 3 percent raise this year translates to about $18,000. Kaler made a similar request last year, so that puts his total contribution at approximately $36,000.

He told regents at a board meeting earlier this month:

“While as anyone might, I’d appreciate a salary raise, my principle concern does continue to remain access to this university for qualified students. “

Board Chairman Richard Beeson called Kaler’s donation “a great gesture in support of the students.” He said a presidential performance review committee in June had called Kaler’s performance that year “stellar.”

Regent John Frobenius said he didn’t want to detract from Kaler’s generosity, but questioned how Kaler’s unchanging salary base would affect the position in the long term:

“I would just ask that a little time and further thought be given to how that impacts future years, how that impacts the competitive nature of the salary, how it might affect our competitive position over time.”

Regent David Larson said he’d discussed the move with Kaler:

“He actually… had really no concerns. But if there was a concern at all — and this is my interpretation of the discussion — it was retirement income. So I think that we need to address that subject to make sure when the time comes … that he is well rewarded in his retirement.”

Kaler makes about $650,000 year in total compensation.  The annual Chronicle of Higher Education survey ranks him 10th among 57 presidents of the state flagships. He’s 33rd among all presidents, and the Pioneer Press has him ranked 6th among current and future Big Ten presidents.

  • MN123

    So, does he get taxed on the give away? Or is it considered a charitable gift? If he were to get the salary and then gift it, how would that be different-for him, the University’s “competitiveness” for future salaries, or the retirement package? It is a great thing for him to do this. My cynical side says that it is a PR stunt. My more hopeful view of humanity sees it as a pay it forward gift.

  • UMN staffer

    Dear Regent Larson,
    If you are concerned about Prez Kaler’s ability to retire on his $650,000 salary, come see me in Johnston Hall to talk about how you plan for retirement on much, much less.
    Sincerely,
    10+ year P&A