by Max Brantley
UCA's hometown paper, the Log Cabin Democrat (registration required), editorializes in favor of the $100,000 bonus given UCA President Lu Hardin the other day.
Lu Hardin is well paid as UCA president - not the best paid of Arkansas college presidents but far from the lowest paid either.
He is the chief executive officer of a major institution, and you see the headlines on a regular basis of how much the top man of a major corporation earns plus a yearly bonus of a ga-zillion dollars.
The trustees gave Hardin a $100,000 bonus and said it was $20,000 for each of the five years he has been UCA president. What a five years they have been.
Hardin took over UCA when it was floundering, ripped by strife, seemingly dead in the water, struggling to stay fourth among Arkansas colleges if you rank them by enrollment. Now UCA is second from that aspect.
UCA is doing things, many widely varied things. This once quiet little teachers college is making very large strides. UCA is hot. All right, the University of Arkansas is top college dog and will remain so. But UCA is the "in" college today, and Lu Hardin is much a reason for that.
We don't begrudge that solid one-time bump in his pay check. He was rewarded for being successful, this energetic, innovative leader of the University of Central Arkansas.
And don't forget we get Mary Hardin as part of that package too. Good things are happening.
UPDATE: The vigorous dialogue by our readers prompts some added information from UCA. 1) Hardin's bonus comes from UCA Foundation money (much like bonuses are paid to UA football coaches from Razorback Foundation money), not from appropriated funds and 2) UCA faculty has had substantial back-to-back pay raises under Hardin -- 4.9 percent last year and 5 percent this year.