MSU trustees give president raise; Simons donate back to university

Contact: Terry Denbow, University Relations, (517) 355-2262,

Jan 13, 2006

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Board of Trustees of Michigan State University today established the annual salary of President Lou Anna K. Simon at $425,000 in recognition of what board chairperson David Porteous called “exemplary performance and appropriate market positioning.”

Simon immediately announced that she and her husband, Roy J. Simon, PhD., director of telecommunications and transportation at MSU, will donate their salary adjustments for this year to the university's capital campaign.

Simon, who on Jan. 1 began her second year as MSU's 20 th president, received an annual salary of $340,000 in her first year in that role.

“The Simons have been leaders in philanthropy at MSU for more than 30 years,” said Marti Heil, associate vice president for university development. “They have donated to numerous areas across campus, and their generosity has had broad and deep impact.”

Heil noted that, through 2005, the Simons' generosity to MSU has included more than $500,000 in cash gifts, and they are recognized as members of the university's Shaw Society for top-level donors.

“The board is extremely pleased with and proud of the progress and promise of the Simon presidency,” Porteous said. “Consideration of an appropriate market adjustment and a merit increase reflected and responded to the nationally recognized momentum – from taking MSU ‘from land-grant to world-grant' to her ‘Boldness by Design' initiatives – that's been achieved during her tenure.”

A resolution framing the action noted that a recent board review found that Simon's compensation in the past year “slipped to the bottom range” for presidents of public universities in the Big Ten and other peer universities, “particularly when the deferred compensation of other presidents is considered,” Porteous said. He added that Simon's compensation package is “salary-centered and unusually transparent.”

“In making our gift to the university, Roy and I directly and appreciatively relate the board's action to the contributions of all members of ‘Team MSU' in achieving the progress and the potential they cited. Our gift honors them and thanks them for these contributions,” Simon said. “There is an exciting momentum at MSU, as our university confronts dramatic problems and opportunities in our state,nation and beyond – problems and opportunities, frankly, which we at MSU are specially and sometimes even uniquely positioned to address.”

The board resolution specifically cited some of Simon's presidential accomplishments:

  • capital campaign success in passing the $1 billion mark;
  • reduction of net tuition costs for the neediest students;
  • momentum in building the College of Human Medicine campus in West Michigan;
  • establishment of “Boldness by Design” framework;
  •  increase in federal grants and contracts; and
  • leadership and support of state and regional economic and community development efforts.