U of I Gives Retiring President Easter Final Bonus

U of I President Robert Easter at his office on the Urbana campus, after December 2014 interview.

U of I President Robert Easter at his office on the Urbana campus, after December 2014 interview.

(Jeff Bossert/WILL)

University of Illinois President Robert Easter will get one last pay increase before he retires later this month.  University trustees meeting Thursday in Springfield approved a $167,200 performance bonus. The money was for successfully working with his successor, Timothy Killeen, on a smooth transition and other measures.

Easter could have received as much as $176,000.    Easter's base salary is $478,558 and his total annual compensation is $658,558.  That's ninth among the 14 Big Ten presidents.
He has been awarded bonuses each year on the job for reaching performance-based goals.
Easter is scheduled to retire May 18 after taking the job in 2012.
Trustees and administrators praised Easter at the meeting as a humble leader. The longtime administrator had planned to retire then but took over when Michael Hogan unexpectedly resigned.

Easter was also presented Thursday with the Distinguished Service Medallion, honoring his more than 40 years at the U of I that began as a graduate student in 1973.  He joined the faculty in 1976 after earning a doctorate in animal science, and later became a department head, dean, interim provost, and interim chancellor, and interim vice chancellor for research.

"Bob never failed to answer the call when his wisdom and steady hand were needed during difficult times, and often he and his wife Cheryl put the University’s interests above their own,” Trustees Chairman Edward L. McMillan said, in a press release. “His many talents have left a lasting mark on a University regarded among the world’s best, but he will be remembered just as much for his integrity, his kindness and a spirit of service that we hope to instill in every graduate.”

The Medallion is the 29th president by the board since the honor was created in 1974 to recognize those who have contributed to the U of i's growth and development.  Past recipients have included two-time Nobel Prize winner John Bardeen and Illini football icon Harold "Red" Grange.

Easter was also awarded the title of President Emeritus during Thursday's meeting.

Story source: AP