In recognition of a year of achievements and milestones, the University of South Florida board of trustees approved a $37,000 bonus for president Judy Genshaft.
The decision, which came after Genshaft's annual evaluation at Thursday's board meeting, passed with ease. Even student body president Frank Harrison, who was expected by some to question the bonus, said he was "100 percent in support" even though he'd probably "get some criticism or strange looks from students around campus.
"It's unexpected to see a student representative go along with something like that," said Harrison, who sits on the board. "I don't know why. That's just the trend. But (the bonus) really says she is doing everything in her power to improve the university."
Rhea Law, head of the trustees board, praised USF's "tremendous moves forward" and recommended the bonus, which is 10 percent of Genshaft's $370,641 annual salary. Among some of the year's accomplishments was a recently announced partnership with SRI International to open a $10-million, 30,000-square-foot marine technology research center.
The school also topped $300-million in research funding for the first time in its 50-year history and earned recognition from the National Science Foundation as one of the nation's two fastest-growing research universities.
Genshaft's contract is to be renegotiated next year. Her base salary is less than those of the presidents of Florida International University, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. Of her $370,641 salary, $225,000 comes from public sources.
"I'm very appreciative (of the bonus)," Genshaft said. "They know this is a very challenging position, and one I take very seriously."
The board also discussed goals for the next five-year period, including encouraging freshman residency and focusing on global studies. Genshaft said she would like to see more students studying abroad and learning about other cultures.
Genshaft also aims to make USF the next Florida school to join the invitation-only Association of American Universities, which extends its membership to schools it considers superior in research and graduate studies. The University of Florida is the only Florida school in the 106-year-old association.
Emily Nipps can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or email@example.com.