Penn State University board raises pay for treasurer

Old Main on the Penn State University campus.

Old Main on the Penn State University campus.

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Less than a month after raising tuition, a Penn State executive is set to receive an annual raise of about $71,000 — still bringing her salary down to less than her predecessor’s — after the subcommittee of the board of directors on compensation approved the decision on Wednesday afternoon.

Sara Thorndike, senior vice president of finance and business/treasurer, will see her salary increase to $520,008, which is still lower than the $537,372 earned in 2019-20 by the most experienced David Gray, who retired two years ago. Thorndike’s previous salary was $448,800, which means his salary has increased by almost 16%.

In an email, Penn State spokesman Wyatt DuBois wrote that the salary increase brings Thorndike’s salary “up to 100% of the median for public institutions in the university’s peer group. “.

“The subcommittee agreed with President (Neeli) Bendapudi that such an increase was warranted due to the increased responsibilities assumed with respect to the university’s budget,” DuBois added.

Penn State operated with a $166 million deficit last academic year, using its central reserves to offset the shortfall, with Thorndike acknowledging such a practice is unsustainable. To balance the budget by 2025, the university is trying to save about $250 million — and in recent weeks it has both raised tuition and implemented a hiring freeze.

A college-wide 3% cut is also on the horizon after being discussed for months. Officials will present an operating budget to administrators for the next academic year in September — and did not do so in July, as usual — to give departments more time to revise their budgets.

During Wednesday afternoon’s virtual public meeting with the compensation subcommittee, which followed a private executive session, little discussion took place. In fact, the public part lasted less than 90 seconds, with the members simply referring to a “salary adjustment” and Thorndike, without specifically mentioning the size of the salary increase.

The Center Daily Times contacted the university about these details, which it later published. The subcommittee unanimously approved the increase.

Penn State classes for the fall semester begin August 22.

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Josh Moyer received his BA in Journalism from Penn State and his MS from Columbia. He has been involved in news and sports writing for nearly 20 years. He boasts the best athlete he’s ever seen as Tecmo Super Bowl’s Bo Jackson.

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