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August 8, 2014

USC president to make $1 million-plus in 2017

University of South Carolina trustees voted Friday to give president Harris Pastides a raise that would put his total compensation at more than $1 million a year by 2017. The university’s foundation, which would pay for the increase, also must approve the pay hike.

University of South Carolina trustees voted Friday to give president Harris Pastides a raise that would put his total compensation at more than $1 million by 2017.

The board recommended the USC Foundation increase Pastides’ compensation, paid out of the foundation’s private money, to $503,800 a year – a $108,800 increase.

The foundation must give final approval to the pay increase. But that approval is little more than a formality.

Pastides’ annual state-paid salary – $286,200 a year – will remain unchanged. However, his total base salary — including state and foundation money – would increase to $790,000, if the foundation approves the increase.

“There is no doubt Harris is among the best presidents in the country,” trustee chairman Gene Warr said in a statement. “This increase in his compensation is well-deserved.”

Trustees also recommended the foundation pay Pastides, 60, two one-time bonuses of $100,000 each – to be paid on July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016 – if he remains USC’s president.

The bonuses are in addition to $250,000 that Pastides will receive July 2017 if he remains in the post. That bonus, OK’d in 2012, consists of five yearly bonuses of $50,000 each to be paid in a lump sum in 2017.

Combined with state and foundation money, that bonus will bring Pastides’ total compensation for 2017 to more than $1 million.

The pay raise would make Pastides the second-highest-paid head of a public S.C. university – trailing MUSC’s president – and the third highest-paid president in the Southeastern Conference, based on 2012-13 salaries from the other schools, the most recent available.

“One of the best decisions this board has ever made was naming Harris as our system president,” trustee chairman Warr said.

Pastides, entering his seventh year in office, is the fourth longest-serving president in the Southeastern Conference.

Last year, as he marked his fifth year as USC president, Pastides said he did not “covet being the president of another university.”

The pay raise and bonuses in coming years would place Pastides among the 10 highest-paid public university presidents, based on a 2014 Chronicle of Higher Education survey. However, that ranking could change as the compensation of other presidents is updated to reflect their pay hikes.

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