DiGiorgio to receive salary, benefits 1 year after he retires as Winthrop president

adouglas@heraldonline.comFebruary 13, 2013 

— Winthrop University President Anthony DiGiorgio will continue to receive salary and benefits after retiring later this year.

DiGiorgio’s contract entitles him to sabbatical leave for a year after he retires in June.

During the sabbatical, DiGiorgio will receive his “full presidential salary and benefits;” after that he will be paid a salary equal to the state salary in effect on the date he leaves, according to the contract.

DiGiorgio’s salary from the state is currently $169,970.

After retiring, DiGiorgio will be Winthrop’s president emeritus and a tenured distinguished service professor.

Like most other college presidents in South Carolina, DiGiorgio receives additional money from his university’s foundation – a private, non-profit entity, said Gary Williams, president of the Winthrop University Foundation Board of Directors.

The foundation, established in 1973, manages gifts, assets and private donations given to the university to help pay for student scholarships, faculty programs, and “educational services,” among other things, according to its website. Members of its board are volunteers.

Williams said Wednesday he didn’t know off the top of his head how much of DiGiorgio’s salary is paid by the foundation. DiGiorgio’s supplement from the foundation is not one of the highest among S.C. university presidents, he said.

DiGiorgio has done a “fantastic job” as Winthrop’s president, Williams said, and the foundation’s supplement to his salary is not a secret.

According to a 2010 tax document posted on the foundation’s website, it paid $1,062,437 in employee salaries and benefits, but the form does not specify which employees received the compensation.

After 2010, Williams said, the IRS Form 990 required private organizations to report how much they paid to each foundation or university employee.

The Winthrop Foundation’s most recent IRS documents are not available on its website or other online databases that gather such information, such as Guide Star or The National Center for Charitable Statistics.

Tax forms from other university foundations filed after 2010 are posted on the NCCS website. According to those documents:

• Clemson University President James Barker received $435,442 in 2011 from the college’s foundation and related organizations.

• Francis Marion University President Fred Carter received $153,500 in 2011 from his school’s foundation in addition to his state salary of $165,133.

• University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides received a total $274,006 in 2011 from USC-affiliated foundations.

DiGiorgio’s contract does not specify whether the university or the foundation will pay his salary after retirement.

Winthrop’s Board of Trustees will “determine the source of funding for fulfilling Winthrop’s contractual obligations to Dr. DiGiorgio at the appropriate time,” university spokeswoman Rebecca Masters said.

“As with any needs of the university, trustees may opt to call on the Winthrop Foundation for some proportion of those resources,” she said.

The trustees’ “first order of business is to complete on-going work on a new contract that can be offered to the individual eventually chosen to become the next president of Winthrop,” Masters said.

The foundation board, Williams said, will meet in April to discuss how to continue supporting the university and possibly DiGiorgio’s salary.

As part of his presidential contract, Winthrop provides a residence for DiGiorgio on campus.

In 2008, the Board of Trustees authorized him to move off campus and agreed to “provide comparative services to the off-campus residence,” the contract states.

Winthrop’s foundation board voted in May 2010 to pay about $20,000 annually for an off-campus residence in Rock Hill after DiGiorgio moved. Those services are part of the foundation’s budget, which runs through June 2013, Williams said.

Like other discussions about spending, Williams said, the foundation’s board will decide whether to continue paying that $20,000 annually.

DiGiorgio’s presidential contract was mistakenly e-mailed to some of the university’s faculty members on Saturday by Kimberly Faust, executive assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Trustees.

About 60 people mistakenly received the e-mail with the contract attached, Masters said.

Faust used a recall function to try to undo the mistake shortly after.

The contract has caused a stir among some faculty members because many people didn’t realize DiGiorgio’s role as president emeritus would be a paid position, said Jennifer Solomon, Winthrop sociology and anthropology professor.

“People are just wondering how much money is this going to cost and where’s it coming from,” she said.

She and other faculty members assume that the foundation will foot the bill, Solomon said.

The foundation needs to chip in because the money Winthrop receives from the state to pay its president is one of the lowest compared to other schools, said Cliff Calloway, a Winthrop professor and faculty representative to the Board of Trustees.

Calloway was one of the faculty members who received the e-mail Saturday. He immediately knew it was not intended for him, he said, so he didn’t give the contract much thought.

The state gives Winthrop more money to pay its president than many other four-year schools in the state, including Coastal Carolina, The Citadel, S.C. State University and Lander University, according to information on the State Budget and Control Board’s website.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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