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Posted on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman to get 3% raise

By David Jesse

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman will receive a 3 percent raise, the Board of Regents decided this afternoon.

That will raise Coleman’s base salary to $570,105, university officials said.

In addition to her base, Coleman also gets:

  • $75,000 deferred compensation
  • $100,000 retention bonus
  • $24,500 retirement pay
  • $30,850 supplemental retirement pay
  • A house and car

Mary Sue Coleman answering questions.JPG

Mary Sue Coleman

Melanie Maxwell |

Regents said they offered the raise after reviewing Coleman’s efforts over the course of the past year. Coleman requested a freeze in her pay last year.

Regents discussed the review in the personnel, compensation and governance committee today. That committee meeting is closed to the public.

Regent Andrew Richner, who chairs that committee, reported on the accomplishments during the public meeting. He noted the opening of the North Quad dorm, the renovation of Michigan Stadium, holding down tuition increases, the increase of the endowment, and Coleman's naming by Time magazine as one of the top 10 university presidents in the nation.

“All in all a pretty good year,” Richner said.

Coleman thanked the board for the positive review.

“I very much appreciate it and working with this team and this board,” she said.

Crisler Arena project grows

The Board of Regents agreed to add $3 million to a project to renovate Crisler Arena.

The money will be used to replace the seats in the upper bowl of the arena. The project was already slated to replace the seats in the lower bowl.

Doing both at the same time will be a more efficient use of resources, university officials said.

Investment returns positive

The University of Michigan has a 6.2 percent average annual return on investments for the last decade, Regent Katherine White, the chair of the regent’s Finance, Audit and Investment Committee, said during the board’s regular meeting.

That compares with a 3.9 percent average return for all college and university endowments and an average loss of 1.6 percent for the S&P 500 for the same period, the university said in a news release.

For the year ending June 30, 2010, U-M reported a 12.3 percent return on investment. That matched the average return for college and university endowments for the period, the university said in a news release.

That growth helped the university endowment from $6 billion last year, to $6.6 billion this year.

The university distributed $255.6 million from the endowment to support operations in financial year 2010, White said. That’s up from $244 million in FY 2009.

U-M endowment is the seventh largest in the country among institutions of higher learning and the second largest among public universities.

Twenty-four percent of the endowment is restricted for use by the health system.

The Board of Regents voted this year to reduce the amount of the endowment that is distributed from 5 percent to 4.5 percent.

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Sat, Oct 16, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

@racerx "If she went somewhere else she could easily earn more" Easy to say! That's what everyone says when trying to justify a raise. In different times a raise maybe. But not in this economy. Let her go try!


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

No wonder the tuition had to go up again. Someone needed more money.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

Seniors are getting a 0% cost of living adjustment to their social security because the government said there was no inflation in the economy last year. Would someone like to tell this government funded University that?


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 1:38 p.m.

Coleman doing a good job...??? what context.? Opening UofM and it's developments to the Chinese?

larry kramer

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

All in all a pretty good year, Richner said. what planet does he live on?


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 11:22 a.m.

Why wouldn't she decline it. Mary Sue makes so much money it's sickening. Tuition up up up every year. The economy is in the tank Our state has the highest unemployment. It's called pure Greed. Give me more and more and more I deserve it.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

She is already making over $800,000 per year and they give her a raise. Plus they provide her with a car and a home (value of another $50,000/year). Ms. Coleman, you are already extremely well paid and our stat cannot afford to raise your pay. Please do the right thing and respectfully turn down this raise, and consider giving a 10% rebate back to the university to show you understand the fiscal situation our state is in. Thank you.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

Mary Sue Coleman's base salary raise, alone, is worth about $16,600. This is close to 50% of what a typical, lower level university staff member will earn over the course of an entire year. So, while this sum might amount to 'chump change' in the privileged minds of the regents and upper level U-M administrators, it's serious, real money for a great many under their employ. I hope that the growing U-M income disparity will motivate another effort by university administrative staff to unionize. They've come close before.

Milton Shift

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Her raise of 15-20k is more than many people's annual salaries these days. A lot of post-docs here have been working 80 hour weeks for 3 years, sometimes even sleeping in their labs, without a single raise. And this is with a base salary so low that they're in their 30s and STILL putting off having kids for financial reasons! Canceling scholarships and then giving oneself a raise reminds me of Jack from 30 Rock canceling overtime pay and giving himself a bonus for it.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8:17 a.m.

It would be helpful if could provide some context for this piece. We deserve to know how Ms. Coleman's salary and salary increase compares to other university presidents in Michigan and at Big 10 public universities. I'm amazed by the $100K retention bonus. That equals another 5 to 7 percent salary increase for her - and that's spreading it over three or four years.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 8:04 a.m.

@ trespass Just because you say it does not make it so. Inflation last year was 2.63% and is projected at 1.1% for this year. If you want to disagree that she deserves a raise, that is one thing, but lying about facts is not.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

I am outraged. This news has motivated me to finally register to comment. Are the regents at all aware of the real world. Certainly Mary Sue Coleman has done a good job as have many. But all around us there are serious financial problems. Municipalities, agencies, organizations, families, and businesses are all suffering serious financial difficulties. Nearly everyone is having to seriously examine their budgets and expenditures. Bridges, roads, essential services, schools, retirement funds, foreclosures, health care, the list of financial concerns is unending. Someone is serious out of touch with reality. I can iamagine my response to my next nearly daily request for a contribution to some UM organization.

David Jesse

Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:22 a.m.

@Stephen Landes: The vote was unanimous


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

ho hum...another self-serving politico move and another bone to the peasants. oh wait, where's the bone?


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.



Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

The Regents are stuck on increasing the University budget at three times inflation (inflation was less than 1% last year). How about do a graph of pay raises for President Coleman and the other top execs, along with the pay raises for employees making less than $100,000. I guarantee that the curves are diverging. Regents Newman and Richner who are up for re-election next month, voted for this raise. They both ran on promises to limit rises in tuition to the rate of inflation. Send the Board a message and vote for their opponents.


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 4:59 a.m.

Bad judgment at best.. at worst...blind ignorance to the pain of 99% of the population who continue to work at reduced pay and benefits. I am all for merit pay but the timing of this is just in bad taste...


Fri, Oct 15, 2010 : 12:40 a.m.

Kudo's to Mary Sue! She is doing a great job at UM, despite most of the naysayers posting. If she went somewhere else she could easily earn more. The students love her, she is leading one of the greatest public university in the world, and all people can see is her measly 3% raise! Wow. What does the state suffering have to do with what she's doing is beyond me. Though she is not a curing cancer, as a post put it, she is fostering the environment for a future scientist to have the ability to find a cure for cancer and other worth while endeavors. So please to all the haters, see the forest for the trees.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10:05 p.m.

wrong,very very wrong, shame on her for accepting this raise. As a side note, this is one of the few times on I've found myself agreeing with most liberals. Thank you Cash, look forward to agreeing with you again in another 4 months!

Stephen Landes

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

I would like to know how the Regents voted on this issue: unanimous or was there opposition and if so, who opposed this move?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 9:09 p.m.

The state took away the Michigan Promise Scholarship to the students who are filling the state schools and keeping these people in their jobs. If the students can take the financial hit, how fair is it that the educators/administrators are getting raises? Disgraceful.

Blueman Rick

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Good lord. Why? As others have stated: The state is broke! If she had a sliver of concern for the university, the state or it's residents, she would have differed the raise, at least, for the immediate future. She is selfish and overpaid like most of the worthless politicians in this country.

David Briegel

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

I like MSC, but are the regents blind to the current controversy regarding the stadium? Social Security recipients frozen for two consecutive years. I must agree with the other posters here and that is unusual! Enough!

Long Time No See

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

It's not a big increase, and it's not a lot of money when compared to the size of the organization for which Coleman is responsible. I think she does a good job, and maybe she deserves this salary increase. However, I think the regents made a mistake. It seems that they don't realize how this looks to the rest of us. When the university is dealing with significant reductions in state support, increases in tuition that is already very expensive, and a state economy that is suffering terribly, this looks like the scandalous Wall Street bonuses that seem to reward the already-rich when the majority are suffering.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

@Cash We have had our share of disagreements but I am with you all the way on this one. BIG deal if she requested a freeze last year! At her salary she can afford about a 10 year freeze. She is hardly a step above the couple from Trenton bullying a terminally ill girl!


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

Gee, I'm not poor. By the way, is there a tea party rally tonight that I missed?

Milton Shift

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

The idea there's "no money" for wages, benefits, social services of all forms is a complete lie. This is just another example. Wow, where'd all the money go? Why are we suddenly so poor? It's because it's all been STOLEN from us! I wonder how much is spent on the administrators here, versus those doing the actual work?

Stephen Landes

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

I can't support a pay raise for the president of U of M. This state is in terrible financial condition. Last time I checked U of M is still a state-supported (although with declining support) school. There is no reason for a pay raise in this economy. Everyone is working harder for the same of less money and they are all expected to have "all in all a pretty good year". None of us are exempt from that. Work harder, do more, less pay is the norm for most people. If MSC thinks she is being undervalued she is free to leave U of M to find greener pastures. I also find the payment of a retention bonus to be unacceptable. I've been through that in private business with a company in trouble and they decided they needed to pay such a bonus to keep "key" people. I'm sorry, but no way: if I have to buy loyalty then you are not worth having on the team. Be a team player, stay through the tough times and make things work and you will be rewarded when things get better. I don't care if this is the "new way" of doing business -- if the organization were mine I wouldn't stand for it.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

You know... this is why universities are so vehemently opposed to community colleges offering four year degrees. Community colleges are the charter schools to universities' public schools... and people will figure this out eventually.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

I don't care WHO else makes a lot of money. Our state is suffering. This is a disgrace and slap in the face to the citizens of Michigan. She's not a scientist who discovered the cure for cancer or something....she is someone who runs a state school. Disgraceful.


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

Take a look at the astounding amounts that The Ohio State University has paid E. Gordon Gee the last few years and it looks like Mary Sue is getting seriously shortchanged. Who knew Ohio had so much money?


Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

"That growth helped the university endowment rise $6 billion this year..." I don't think so. We need a correction here.

Milton Shift

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

Wow! Everyone else had their wages frozen. Post-docs work a lot harder than her and for about... 5% the pay. What we can't afford these days are these exorbitant salaries for arrogant, aloof executives and administrators. We're spending almost a million a year on ONE person at a public institution?! Cut her salary to the ground!