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Likins' contract renewed

By Keren G. Raz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday March 10, 2003

In president's fifth year, board of regents votes 8-0 to extend contract for another three years

TEMPE Pick any recent major change at UA, and you might find President Pete Likins' name stamped on it.

He proposed the largest tuition hike in UA history, which the Arizona Board of Regents approved last week.

A look back at Likins' salary increase

· Received a raise, increasing his salary to $468,394
· Received a $25,750 base pay increase
· Received an increase to his pension, to $163,007
· Gave $25,000 of the salary increase back to UA
· Gave $35,000 provided by the UA Foundation back to UA

He pushed for the construction of the largest student union in the country (without a hotel attached), which was completed in January.

And as his Focused Excellence plan, which includes individualizing the admissions process and redefining UA's mission, becomes a reality, Likins said he can't leave the UA for at least another two years.

"A day like today, a year like this year, gives the president the opportunity to change the university," he said.

At their meeting at ASU on Friday, the regents voted 8-0 to renew Likins' contract for another three years.

"It wasn't as close as I thought," Regent Fred Boice joked after the vote.

When Likins became UA president in 1997, he originally said he would only serve in the position for three to five years.

But during his first five years Likins said he never had the opportunity to do what presidents dream of: "leading a university on a path of change."

Finally, he said, the regents this year, led by regent President Jack Jewett, have grasped the need for change and given him the flexibility he needs to change UA.

"Now I've been permitted to dream a higher dream," Likins said.

Part of that dream, he said, includes being able to implement, by the fall of 2006, more rigorous admissions standards that will help UA manage its growth.

Although Likins said he wishes he could see the end result of all the changes he will begin, he knows that's impossible.

Likins, who turns 67 in July, said he could retire in the next two to four years.

"Will I reach the top of the hill? No I won't," he said. "But I will have the ability to redirect the university."

The regents raised Likins' salary to $468,394 last summer to keep it competitive with that of ASU President Michael Crow.

His base annual salary increased by $25,750 and his pension nearly quadrupled to $163,007, which Likins will receive as part of his renewed multiyear contract.

Likins said at first that he wouldn't accept the raise because of the university's budget problems, but he later accepted the increase, saying it would not be fair for ASU and UA to have presidents with a huge salary difference.

"If they had a $200,000 disparity, it would cause problems in a lot of ways," he said, noting that ASU's financial situation is no better than at UA.

He will not only keep the higher salary as part of his new contract, but he will also maintain his promises to return some of that money to the UA. He will return $25,000 of the salary increase and another $35,000 provided by the UA Foundation this year as part of his compensation package.

Under the new contract, the $35,000 will come from university-funded sources and not the UA Foundation.

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