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Posts tagged with Ku Endowment

Breaking down the private funds that pay the KU chancellor’s salary

If the comments on this story and the interactions with the @LJW_KU Twitter account last week are any indication, many of you had some thoughts and feelings about last week's Kansas Board of Regents vote to award a pay increase to KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, along with the chief executives at the state's other public universities.

One important detail, amid declining state funding at KU, is that the $60,000 raise for Gray-Little will come entirely from private funds. That means the privately paid portion of the chancellor's salary is approaching the state fund-paid portion: About $272,000 will now came from state funds, with about $221,000 coming from private funds.

That left me with a question: What are those "private funds," exactly?

Well, they come from the KU Endowment Association, but it's a little more complicated than that.

First, some history. KU chancellors' salaries consisted entirely of state funds until 10 years ago, in 2003, when Chancellor Robert Hemenway began to receive an additional $50,000 per year thanks to a $1 million donation from a KU graduate. That donor, Charley Oswald, of Edina, Minn., also donated $1 million each to Kansas State and Wichita State universities.

Each donation created a professorship fund — like ones used to pay additional salary for distinguished professors — to bolster the salary of each university's chief executive.

Ten years later, that fund at KU provides about $70,000 of the chancellor's salary, said KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling. The rest of her salary — and all of the $60,000 increase the Regents approved last week — comes from the Endowment's Greater KU Fund, to which donors can make unrestricted gifts "to advance the university for a variety of purposes," Seuferling said.

A big majority of gifts to the Endowment come with specific instructions for their use, but some donors give money that the Endowment can use for any purpose at KU, with the approval of the Executive Committee of its Board of Trustees. Those go into the Greater KU Fund.

For the current fiscal year, which ends a week from today, donors have made 2,921 unrestricted gifts to the Endowment totaling about $2.3 million (an average of $800 per gift), according to numbers that Seuferling shared. The totals for restricted gifts are much higher: 80,576 gifts that add up to about $128.7 million, with an average gift of about $1,600.

For the coming year, around $151,000 of the chancellor's salary will come from the unrestricted fund. Over time, Seuferling said, the Regents have asked for privately funded increases to the chancellor's salary that exceed the amount available each year from the fund established by Oswald's donation. Those increases require approval from the Endowment's Executive Committee.

So, in sum, here's how the chancellor's salary will break down, roughly: $272,000 from state funds; $70,000 from the Endowment fund created to pay some of the chancellor's salary; and $151,000 from the Endowment's unrestricted fund.

Gray-Little's new base salary of $492,650, by the way, would rank 34th among public university leaders in the most recent survey on that subject published by the Chronicle of Higher Education (though that survey was for the 2012 fiscal year, and she'll make that salary in the 2014 fiscal year, so obviously other leaders' pay may have increased since then, as well). Her then-base pay of about $429,000 ranked 60th in the survey for that year. (Overall, she was the 86th highest-paid executive on the list, but that includes retirement and severance payouts, among other factors.)

The Regents said the raises for Gray-Little and the other leaders were designed to make their pay more competitive nationally, and this one would appear to do that.

I'm sorry if you didn't expect your Monday to include so much math. I'll stop throwing so many numbers at you, but only if you send me a KU news tip to divert my attention. Send 'em to merickson@ljworld.com.

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    KU Endowment’s investments fared a bit worse than national average in last fiscal year

    KU's endowment wasn't alone in having a less-than-great return on investment during the most recent fiscal year, judging from a survey released last week. Its investment returns were a bit worse than the average for North American colleges and universities, though.

    The average return on investment for endowments during the 2012 fiscal year — roughly the 2011-12 academic year, running from July 2011 to June 2012 — was negative 0.3 percent, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports from an annual survey of North American institutions. It's a bit unusual for investments to remain that flat, the story says. Usually endowments experience a lot of peaks and valleys.

    The KU Endowment's investments declined by about 3.4 percent during that time, the Endowment Association reported in October.

    That decline, in addition to record spending of $119 million and some other factors, caused the total value of KUEA's endowed funds to fall from about $1.25 billion in June 2011 to around $1.18 billion in June 2012. That's a 5.4 percent decline.

    Those funds placed KUEA 59th among North American endowments as of June 2012, right between the University of Nebraska ($1.21 billion) and Texas Christian University ($1.18 billion). (A sortable table of all endowments is here.)

    Other notables on the list:

    • The University of Missouri system's endowment gained 4.7 percent in value, bringing it up to $1.17 billion — No. 63.

    • The Kansas State University Foundation's value declined by 2.4 percent, falling to $329 million. That ranked 200th. Other Regents university endowments: Wichita State, $199 million, No. 268; Emporia State, $67 million, No. 494; Pittsburg State, $57 million, No. 536; Fort Hays State, $50 million, No. 565.

    • The University of Texas system's endowment dwarfs those of all other public universities: Its value rose 6.5 percent to $18.3 billion, third on the list.

    • And this is just crazy: Harvard University's behemoth of an endowment fell in value by an amount greater than the entire KU Endowment: $1.29 billion. But that was just 4.1 percent of its 2011 value, and its $30.4 billion in funds was still $11 billion more than second-place Yale.

    Finally, this year-by-year graph shows that KU's endowment has followed roughly the same value trends as Harvard, Yale and other big dogs over the past six years — just on a much smaller scale.

    Of course, all these numbers are from more than six months ago. Back in October, KUEA president Dale Seuferling said the endowment's investments had bounced back since the end of June 2012.

    Here at Heard on the Hill, the value of our endowed funds stayed steady at $0 billion during the 2012 fiscal year. I guess you could donate to change that, if you want, but we'd really rather you just send your KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com.

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    Transport yourself back to third grade with this KU fortune teller

    Want to distract yourself for about 6 minutes? Of course you do.

    So click on this snazzy animated interactive feature from KU Endowment, and thank me later. It's a fortune teller — you know, one of those things you would make out of notebook paper in third grade.

    But instead of numbers or letters or colors or whatever, this one asks you to pick your favorite of four old incarnations of the Jayhawk (the original 1912, for me), followed by two of your favorite places on the KU campus (I went with Potter Lake and the Campanile).

    From that information it performs a personality test and guesses about some traits you have, comparing you to a KU figure who's done something impressive. I found out I am "innovative and hard-working," giving me something in common with KU grad Brian McClendon, who helped design Google Earth. I have no knowledge of the algorithm the device used to come to that conclusion, but my ego applauds.

    You'll probably want to click around to try different combinations, as I did, so this should occupy several minutes of your time. You're welcome. And in case it's not a real fortune teller for you without the tactile experience of folding a sheet of paper and wiggling your fingers around, the page also offers a printable version.

    I'll predict your fortune, though with no guarantee of accuracy, if you send me a nice Heard on the Hill tip to merickson@ljworld.com.

    Reply 2 comments from Bob-RJ Burkhart