Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns' contract has been extended to 2027, according to a press release sent out from the university.
The university's Board of Trustees voted to extend the president's contract until June 30, 2027, at its board meeting Friday at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
The president's new contract:
Three years ago, Mearns signed his employment contract to be the university's president until June 2022. The new contract adds five more years to the president's current contract.
When the president joined Ball State, his base salary was set at $450,000. As of September 2019, the president's salary was $480,000, according to Ball State's salary document for the 2019-20 academic year. Under the new contract, his base salary will remain at $480,000.
Just like the previous contract, the president’s base salary can only be increased, not decreased, based on his annual performance evaluation.
The previous contract stated the president will contribute 50 percent of his performance bonus to an endowed fund of the president’s choice within the Ball State University Foundation — something omitted from the new contract.
Mearns’ new contract states the university will pay the annual performance bonus on behalf of the president to the Ball State Supplemental 401(a) plan — an alternative pension plan — and then to a qualified excess benefit arrangement (QEBA).
It states the president shall be entitled to a retention bonus equal to $400,000 if employed by the university as president through 2023, an additional $200,000 retention bonus if employed through 2025 and an additional $200,000 if employed through 2027. The university will pay these retention bonuses to the 401(a) plan and then to a QEBA.
According to the university’s marketing and communications, Jo Ann Gora also had a retention bonus structure during her presidency.
Under the new contract, the president relinquished his right to a tenured faculty position at the university if his presidency ends — a provision mentioned in his original contract.
Rick Hall, former chair of the Board of Trustees, credited Mearns with the implementation of Ball State’s Strategic Plan, the university’s partnership with Muncie Community Schools, raising $30 million in philanthropic support for the university etc.
A new chair of the board:
After six years in the position, Hall stepped down as chair of the Board of Trustees and Renae Conley was announced as the new chair of the board — the first woman to occupy the position at Ball State.
Conley, a Muncie-native and alumna of Ball State and Burris Laboratory Schools, served as vice chair of the board since 2016, according to her university bio. Over the course of her career, she has held multiple leadership positions in the energy industry and currently serves as the CEO of a consulting firm.
Hall will continue serving the three years remaining in his term as a member of the board.