Sargent to stay until 2013

Article By: Derek Anderson

Suffolk University decided last Wednesday to extend President David Sargent’s contract an extra two years from 2011 to 2013, even after his extremely high salary made headlines nationwide. This was said to be done in order to give the board more time to find a replacement for after Sargent retires. Sargent will be paid at a rate of $700,000 to $800,000 a year in this new contract deal.

Sargent graduated from Suffolk Law and was a Dean at the Law School for 17 years. He then went on to become the President of the University and has served as President for 20 years.

“The Board believes that his vision and commitment over the past 20 years as President have led to the transformation of Suffolk from a regional commuter school to a comprehensive residential University with more than 90 programs, a student body of almost 10,000 undergraduate and graduate candidates, more than 60,000 alumni and a diverse community of teachers and learners committed to the Suffolk mission of providing a quality education for students of all ages and backgrounds,” said Nicholas Macaronis, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, in a statement.

Even with Sargent’s long service, critics still say his pay is far too high considering the school’s debt. His pay from 2006-2007 was reported at $2.8 million and his pay in 2007-2008 at $1.5 million, making Sargent the second highest paid private college president in the country. The board, however, is sure that keeping him on staff two years longer than planned is the right way to go.

“This was an extension of our vote of confidence,” said Macaronis. “The Trustees voted to do this because they believe President Sargent’s leadership continues to greatly benefit the University and the entire Suffolk community.”

According to Macaronis, Sargent’s pay should not be more than his already expected salary of $700,000 to $800,000 a year. He will not be receiving more bonuses of any sort.

The primary reason Sargent is being signed for a longer contract was to give the board longer to find a suitable replacement. Looking for a new President for the University could take a significant amount of time, and may involve a national search. Once found, the replacement would have to learn the ropes and get on board.

“We don’t want to be pushed too quickly to decide on someone,” said Macaronis. “This will give us time to do it right.”