University of Akron President Matthew Wilson has received his first raise since he began leading the school in July 2016.

Trustees approved hiking his annual salary 21.6 percent to $450,000 and extending his contract through June 30, 2023, at their regular board meeting Wednesday.

The salary increase is being funded by the University of Akron Foundation. UA officials believe it’s the first time the foundation has paid for a president’s pay raise.

Wilson’s annual pay is now the same as what former President Scott Scarborough was earning before he resigned last year amid calls for his ouster. Wilson’s pay remains less than that of Kent State University President Beverly Warren, whose yearly base salary is $468,180.

Also Wednesday, trustees approved:

• A $1,000 one-time payment to roughly 750 employees who are not covered by a collective bargaining contract. The employees have not received salary increases in recent years, trustees and Wilson noted. Vice presidents, members of the president’s Cabinet and those with individual employee contracts are not eligible for the payment.

• The sale of UA’s presidential house in West Akron for $1,050,000 and the creation of an endowment with the net proceeds that will be used for student scholarships.

• The leasing of the former Center for Child Development building at 108 Fir Hill to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which plans to use the building as its Summit County post. UA closed the center last year.

• The closing of the Nursing Center for Community Health, which had been providing free health services to an average of four or five patients per day. Five employees will lose their jobs when the center closes March 30. Appointments have been declining in recent years due in part to the Affordable Care Act, UA officials said.

Possible bonus

Along with Wilson’s pay increase, the board approved an annual $20,000 in deferred compensation, which also will be paid by the foundation. Additionally, Wilson will be considered for up to a $50,000 performance-based bonus beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year.

“This represents a compensation level that is appropriate, but still well below the total compensation packages for other university presidents in Ohio,” Board Chairman Roland H. Bauer said in the meeting and in a letter to the campus community.

Wilson’s previous annual base salary was $370,000, set in July of last year when he became interim president. He had been dean of UA’s law school — a post that paid $270,000 a year.

His salary did not increase when trustees removed the interim from his title in October 2016 and approved a contract term through June 30, 2019.

Wilson opted not to live in the home or receive a housing allowance when he was named president.

UA purchased the home and neighboring lot near Portage Country Club in the late 1990s for $850,000. In 2014, the board spent $951,824 in repairs and renovations to the colonial brick two-story residence for Scarborough. The furnishings and $375,000 in construction costs were paid for with private donations.

Wilson also has chosen to forgo a car allowance or a country club membership, unlike his predecessors.

Wilson replaced Scarborough, who stepped down in 2016 after a contentious two years. Scarborough, who inherited a budget gap primarily caused by a debt-financed building boom and declines in enrollment, was criticized for various actions, including ways in which he chose to cut costs.

Wilson has won praise on campus and in the community for his personable style, as well as his efforts in responding to UA’s financial problems and enrollment. Fall semester enrollment is 22,104.

The university ended fiscal year 2017 with a $12 million surplus. Early projections had estimated the university would have to withdraw as much as $18 million from reserves to help cover a $30 million budget gap.

The budget crunch continues. A $29 million shortfall is projected for the 2017-2018 fiscal year as officials continue to cut expenses and work to grow enrollment.

Katie Byard can be at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.