University President Mary Sue Coleman received a 2.75-percent pay raise at the University’s Board of Regents meeting yesterday but promptly returned the money.

Coleman said she receives enough compensation from the University and doesn’t need more than the $570,105 base salary she currently receives. Coleman granted the $15,678 pay increase to enhance the scholarships she and her husband, Ken, sponsor for students wishing to study abroad.

Last October, the regents approved a 3-percent pay increase for Coleman and last November, the board extended her contract for an additional two years. Coleman’s contract runs through July 2014.

According to an April article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Coleman was ranked the sixth-highest-paid university president in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the most recent year for which data is available.

The regents’ personnel, compensation and governance committee conducted a performance review before awarding this year’s salary raise. Regent S. Martin Taylor (D–Grosse Pointe Farms), the chair of the committee, read the regents’ recommendation for the raise saying deserves the raise for her continuing efforts to better the University.

He said in an interview after the meeting that he is not surprised by Coleman’s donation.

“Her willingness to give back to the University has been there since the beginning,” Taylor said. “She’s been a terrific president, and she loves this University and she’s shown it time and time again.”

Coleman, who has been at the University since 2002, has been in line for a merit-based pay raise every year. But in 2009, she requested that the regents not give her a raise. In 2007, she also donated her 3 percent pay raise back to the University.

Crisler Arena cleared for next stage of renovation process

The ongoing renovations to Crisler Arena received another thumbs-up from the regents yesterday when they approved the project to continue by accepting outside bids and offering construction contracts.

Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the renovations aren’t scheduled to finish until winter 2014 because the arena will still be used during the basketball seasons, he said.

“It’s tricky in and out of seasons,” Slottow said.

The regents’ approval stipulates that the submission of bids are within the proposed $52 million budget for the project. In May, the regents approved the schematic design for the renovations.

At yesterday’s meeting, Slottow reported that the next phase of the construction will involve the addition of new fan entrances and amenities. He added that renovating is more cost-efficient for the University than building a new arena.

Sciences building to get funding for update

The regents voted during their meeting yesterday to renovate the George Granger Brown Memorial Laboratories on North Campus.

The state will fund approximately $30 million of the project, while the University will cover the approximately $17 million in remaining expenses. Slottow said in an interview after the meeting that he is grateful to the state of Michigan for contributing so generously to the G.G. Brown project.

“It’s the first time the state has come through in a number of years,” said Slottow, adding that the contribution is a change from the steady decline that has characterized state funding in recent years.

Science buildings are especially important to maintain, and G.G. Brown has been in need of a renovation for about a decade, Slottow said.

“It’s just crucially important to keep taking care of the really old buildings that provide so much support for University research,” he said.

Regents approve purchase of 716 Oakland Ave.

The regents also approved the purchase of property located between the University Law School’s Weill Hall and South Hall.

The purchase was made amid widespread construction currently taking place at the Law School. The school’s upcoming building, South Hall, is still being built and is scheduled to be completed in January 2012. The University is also negotiating with the city to construct a pedestrian mall on the 700 block of Monroe Street to connect South Hall with the rest of the Law Quadrangle.

Regent Andrew Richner (R–Grosse Pointe Park) approved the purchase and said he could speak to the quality of the Oakland Avenue lot since he lived in a house there during his time as a Law School student.

“It’s great the University is acquiring the property and it’s a better use as well.”

Financial aid awards at all-time high

Donations to the University increased in almost every donor category this year.

Jerry May, the University’s vice president for development, delivered an annual development report to the regents yesterday. Contributions to the University by foundations increased by 26 percent, and corporations donated 10 percent more than they did last year. May said there has also been a 7-percent increase in gifts and pledge payments.

Still, May said the figure he is most proud of is that 11,200 students received financial aid this year — the most students to have ever received financial support.

“It’s an all-time record and it’s really exciting,” May said.

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