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NC State’s chancellor got a $1.5M performance bonus. But others are getting the money

·3 min read

N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson just earned a $1.5 million bonus, but he’s donated all of the money back to the university to support students, mostly through scholarships.

The money was tied to Woodson’s performance as part of a retention package set up by the N.C. State Board of Trustees in 2015.

According to the contract, his goals included:

Increase NC State’s endowment by bringing in at least $500 million in new gifts.

Improve the graduation rate to 78% for undergraduates within six years.

Build NCSU’s research arm to achieve $575 million in annual research investment.

Expand study abroad programs.

Maintain a well-run compliance program.

Woodson, one of NC State’s longest-serving chancellors, stayed at N.C. State and hit the outlined goals sufficiently enough by June 30 to earn the $1.5 million performance award. Last week, the Board of Governors approved the payment and extended Woodson’s contract to 2025.

In 2015, Woodson and his wife, Susan, decided to donate that money.

The first part of the donation was giving $1.15 million to set up a scholarship that will help pay tuition for NCSU employees’ kids. The Woodsons have also donated the money to the student emergency fund, which was a vital resource for students struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and $100,000 for need-based scholarships through the Extraordinary Student Opportunity Fund.

N.C. State students fill the sidewalks on the first day of classes for the fall semester, on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C.
N.C. State students fill the sidewalks on the first day of classes for the fall semester, on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C.

NC State Student Body President McKenzy Heavlin said it doesn’t surprise him that Woodson would make this decision, and it speaks to his character.

“He really cares about N.C. State and the students a lot,” Heavlin said. “This is just another example of him showing that.”

Heavlin said he was also excited to see that Woodson hit those goals, because that means more students are graduating and getting jobs knowing that the N.C. State name is one that they can be proud of.

Under Woodson’s leadership, freshman applications for enrollment have increased by more than 65%, the university’s first-year retention rate has increased from 89.5% to 94.4% and the five-year graduation rate has increased from 67% to 82%, according to NCSU. The university has seen record-breaking donations that have helped triple the size of its endowment. The universities’ research expenditures have increased 45%, reaching a historic $549 million.

In a statement, Board of Trustees Chair Stan Kelly said Woodson exceeded expectations and well surpassed the board’s outlined goals.

“North Carolina is fortunate to have such a strong and effective leader at the helm of North Carolina’s largest university,” he said.

N.C. State board members privately raised the money for the award, so no state, tuition or other university funds were used for it.

Woodson’s base salary is $664,387 and this year he earned a non-salary stipend of $200,000, paid for with non-state funds from N.C. State, according to the UNC System.

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