West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission, meeting today (May 18) in Charleston, completed a key component of West Virginia University President Jim Clements’ contract by unanimously approving a privately-funded supplement for the remaining four years of his contract.

A five-year contract, approved by HEPC and the WVU Board of Governors last spring, allowed for additional compensation from private sources through the WVU Foundation. The Foundation Board voted unanimously last November to approve a $125,000 per year supplement as requested by the BOG, and the Board at its April meeting unanimously authorized Chairman Drew Payne to pursue it with the Commission. (Click here to see the

The funds come from the Milan Puskar Presidential Chair Endowment, set up by the late Morgantown philanthropist specifically to provide salary and benefit support to recruit or retain a “super star” president and presidential development activities.

“The members of the Foundation Board are enthusiastic about the progress being made at WVU under President Clements leadership,” said Wayne King, president and CEO of the Foundation, “and are pleased to be in a position to support his presidency in this meaningful way.”

The action takes effect July 1, 2012, bringing Clements’ total compensation package ($775,000) more in line with mission-based and HEPC peers such as Penn State, Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Minnesota.

“As we get set to embark on the public phase of our Capital Campaign, it’s imperative that we have a strong, effective University leader,” King said. “It’s clear Jim Clements is that person. In fact, as we were working with an external consultant to determine the feasibility of the campaign, the response from donors to a question about the president’s effectiveness resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response – so much so that we were told his presidency ranked among the highest evaluations the firm had ever received in its 30 years of doing this kind of work.”

Foundation Board Chair Verl Purdy echoed those sentiments, saying, “For the past three years, we have enjoyed record-breaking donations at the WVU Foundation. These results were achieved because our alumni and friends believe in the greatness and the future of WVU under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Clements and his team. In June, we will announce a new Campaign that will represent the largest fund- raising effort in the history of our University. We have a great president, who has led us to record-breaking successes in many areas – academics, research, enrollment and athletics. There’s never been a better time to be a Mountaineer, thanks in large part to Jim Clements.”

BOG Chair Drew Payne thanked Puskar and the Foundation for establishing this fund which he said “helps to attract and retain” top leaders.

“President Clements is one of only about a dozen university presidents in the country who lead public land-grant research universities with comprehensive health sciences and statewide extension services,” Payne said. “That’s a tremendous responsibility, and it takes someone with incredible vision, sound decision-making skills and an abundance of energy to lead such an extensive enterprise. Jim Clements has all those qualities.”

He added, “And while he did not request or propose this enhancement, it was the Board’s desire to recognize the scope of his responsibilities, the amazing successes under his leadership and to secure our president through an important capital campaign.”

Jack Rossi, president of the WVU Alumni Association, added, “President Clements brings energy to our great university that is unparalleled. Under his leadership, WVU has enjoyed tremendous growth and success on a number of fronts, including student and faculty recruitment, private giving, academics, research and athletics. He has also been a strong advocate for the WVU Alumni Association, helping us engage our graduates and extend our reach.”

Clements, who begins his fourth year as president in June, said he is “humbled by the support and confidence” shown by the BOG, Foundation and HEPC Boards.

“Beth and I pledge to continue serving WVU and our great state with the same passion and energy that brought us here,” Clements said. “This is our home _ our children’s home. We are all Mountaineers, and we plan to be here for a very long time.”

As the flagship university in the state, WVU and its affiliates represent a $2.3 billion enterprise, employ more than 18,000 people and enroll more than 33,000 students.

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