University of Akron President Luis Proenza announced his retirement today after serving as the school’s president for nearly 15 years. Proenza’s last day as president will be June 30, 2014.
WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports:
Proenza is the longest continually serving president at a public university in Ohio. Under a deal reached with the Board of Trustees today, the 68-year-old will get an 18 percent raise in January, bringing his base salary to $500,000. That will continue through a one-year sabbatical beginning next June.
After that, he’ll make 65 percent of his salary [$325,000] to fill the newly created Trustees’ Chair in Higher Education and the Economy. Proenza will hold that chair for 10 years and has committed to raising $1 million to support it. He says his new position allows him to continue contributing to the school, while doing the things he wants to do, before he can’t do them.
“There’s not a minute to lose. I have another full year in my presidency, and we have a number of things that we have chartered that we want to do. This is a 24/7 job. And I enjoy travelling with my wife and I enjoy doing many other things. She and I built a boat and I want to be sure to be able to use it.”
Proenza will take a one-year paid leave and then return to the university as a tenured professor.
Proenza’s retirement package isn’t quite as rich as former Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee. Gee, who retired this summer, will receive $5.8 million over five years.
Proenza will be paid about $4.3 million over 10 years, plus university contributions to his retirement accounts
Board of Trustees chair Richard Pogue called Proenza’s retirement package a savings compared to the one Proenza would have been entitled to under his previous contract.
Under Proenza’s leadership, the University of Akron saw a $620 million campus expansion and led the creation of an institute to commercialize biomedicine research.
But WKSU calls some reviews of the school’s current state “mixed.” The school now faces budget and staff cuts and plans to close resident halls and increase tuition.