First Posted: 1/15/2009
PEMBROKE - After receiving a $24,000 raise last week, Chancellor Allen Meadors' concerns about fair pay among the state's university system may be assuaged.
The UNC Board of Governors approved raises for Meadors, the chancellor of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and the other 15 chancellors in the UNC system. The money came from a special $334,147 appropriation from the General Assembly.
Meadors received an increase of 15 percent to his annual salary of $160,572, bringing it to $184,658. The raise is retroactive to July 1.
“I am extremely appreciative of the legislature and Board of Governors,” Meadors said.
Meadors had expressed concern that new chancellors were receiving higher salaries than those who had been in their posts five years or more. For example, Chancellor T.J. Bryan at Fayetteville State University, which is similar in size, will earn $207,009 after the adjustment. Meadors has held his post longer than Bryan.
The amount of each raise is based on merit, market and equity, said UNC spokeswoman Joni Worthington.
But Meadors says he is content with his salary. That wasn't the case in February 2004, when Meadors was a finalist to become the next president at Kentucky Wesleyan College. At the time, he complained about pay, saying he hadn't received a raise in three years.
“I am not thinking about leaving,” he said last week.
Lois Oxendine of Pembroke said Meadors deserves every dime of his $24,086 raise.
She said Meadors should be rewarded for doubling the enrollment since he was hired in 1999, spearheading the return of a football program and trying to open the state's first School of Optometry.
Oxendine serves on the Lumbee Tribal Council's Education Committee.
“I am proud of his accomplishments,” Oxendine said. “He has drawn a lot of economic development to this area. The more people that comes to Pembroke, the more money that comes to Pembroke.”
Meadors is credited with making UNCP the fastest-growing institution in the UNC System. Since he arrived in July 1999, UNCP has grown from 2,900 students to 5,632 .
Before coming to UNCP, the Arkansas native held positions at Eastern Washington University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas and Southern Illinois University. He was CEO and dean of Penn State Altoona when his was referred to a search committee at UNCP.
UNCP Trustee Roger Oxendine led that committee. When Meadors was hired, he was among the lowest paid chancellors in the system, making about $145,000 year.
“When he was hired he was charged by (UNC President) Molly Broad to get enrollment up to 5,000 by 2008,” Oxendine said. “He's done that is four years. He is well-deserving of what he got.”
The boost in enrollment has mean new jobs in Pembroke, Oxendine said.
“The new Wal-Mart and McDonald's centers around the university and the growth played a big part in them coming to Pembroke,” Oxendine said. “He's really making Pembroke a college town.”
Former Trustee H. Thomas Jones II said that Meadors is successful because he isn't complacent.
“He challenges his staff,” Jones said. “He gives them stretch goals that can't be easily achieved, but are reasonable.”
Ruth Dial Woods, a former member of the UNC Board of Governors, said she isn't against a pay increase for Meadors or any other chancellors, but said the hike comes at a bad time.
The system's Finance Committee recently announced that all 16 campuses in the state system probably would request a tuition increase next year. UNCP could see a yearly increase of $322.
“It is unfair to raise tuition and give salary increase to chancellors and faculty when the economic situation in our area is what it is,” Woods said.
Woods said legislators should have thought about the public school teacher's pay before appropriating 15 percent salary increases.
Charles Mercer, a member of the UNC board, defended the increases, which ranged from 8 to 16 percent.
“There's been discussion to try to get our chancellors up to market,” he said. “When we do that, it is in the best interest of the university, in the best interest of the institutions and in the best interest of the students and citizens of the state.”