Volume 4, Issue 2 University of Houston
Regents give Smith $45,000 raise, extend contract to September 2003
By Ken Fountain
In a specially called meeting Friday, the UH System Board of Regents voted unanimously to extend by eight months the current employment contract of UHS Chancellor and UH President Arthur K. Smith. The move was made to allow Smith (whose contract was to expire in January, 2003) to stay on through the next session of the Texas Legislature.
The regents also voted to grant Smith a $45,000 annual raise, effective Jan. 1. Smith's current base salary is $340,000. According to the terms of the new arrangement, Smith can elect to add the raise to his current salary, or accept it as deferred payment at a later date.
"We can't thank you enough for the job you're doing," Morrie K. Abramson, the board's chair, said to Smith publicly following a two-hour closed-door executive session. "We have the utmost respect and complete confidence in your continued leadership."
"I sincerely thank all of you," Smith told the nine board members.
In a press release, Abramson said "Under Chancellor Smith's leadership since 1997, the University of Houston System and its four universities have made enormous progress at every level, including student enrollment increases, legislative support, increasing recognition of faculty and programs at the local, state, and national level, as well as increased corporate, foundation, and individual contributions."
Smith is largely credited for his efforts to move UH into the ranks of the nation's Tier I universities, those that attract the highest levels of federal research grants. Currently, only the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M are considered Tier I schools. In the session which ended in May, the Texas Legislature approved the creation of the Texas Research Excellence Fund to provide additional research funding to other Texas universities. UH will receive $6 million from the fund in fiscal years 2002 and 2003.
In the press release, Smith said "We still have much to do to ensure that Texas is prepared to lead in the 21st Century. I am particularly pleased that I will be able to continue my work with the legislature in the 2003 session as we refine the Tier I Research Excellence legislation."
Smith accepted the position of chancellor/president in April 1997 following a massive reorganization of the UH System, which placed the administrative functions of the system and its four constituent universities under one administrative umbrella.
After the meeting, Smith told Breaking News that the new end date for his employment agreement is not a signal that he intends to resign when it expires in September 2003.
"I might consider staying on a year or more beyond that," he said.
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