by Walter Smith
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan has entered into three employment agreements with UVa (technically, the Board of visitors on behalf of UVa). His first agreement was executed in September of 2017, to commence on October 1, 2018, and to last through July 31, 2025. His second agreement, executed as of March 2, 2018, amended his agreement to commence as of August 1, 2018. His third, and current, agreement was executed on March 2, 2022, extending his term of employment until July 31, 2028.
I will summarize its terms for your convenience. This summary will necessarily leave out some of the details, and, if that bothers you, then read the entire agreement yourself! (View the contract and compensation.)
The “term” is set to expire on July 31, 2028, and “renewal” discussions are to commence no later than March 31, 2027, with a desired termination date of discussions by July 31, 2027. In other words, if President Ryan’s employment is not to continue beyond the current term, he desires one year notice of his impending non-renewal.
Mr. Ryan’s duties are spelled out in the Board Manual (see pp 22-23, Section 4.22). There is a clause pertaining to a duty to cooperate with any NCAA investigation that was not in the prior two versions.
“Base Salary” is $750,000, which may be increased for merit increases, which must be approved by the BOV, based on a review of performance by the Rector, including a “market analysis.” The Base Salary plus the “merit increases” is defined as “Annual Salary.” Subject to the same requirements for salary, President Ryan may be paid a $100,000 bonus. His benefits and vacation and sick leave rights are basically comparable to those provided for faculty. While he is President, and at his election after his presidency, Mr. Ryan is the George M. Kauffman Presidential Professor at the Law and Education schools. If he elects to remain post-presidency, Mr. Ryan’s faculty salary would be 75% of his then “Annual Salary.”
Provided he is employed until at least August 1, 2023, Mr. Ryan accumulates 2 months of sabbatical per year of service as President, to be taken after his term or to be paid at 50% of the accumulated value (number of months times then Annual Salary. If Mr. Ryan elects the sabbatical term, he shall be provided an office, staff support and $50,000 annual research and travel allowance.
Of course, President Ryan is provided Carr’s Hill as housing. He also is provided a $20,000 auto allowance, and two paid club memberships (initiation and dues), and travel expenses for University related travel, including use of any UVA aircraft. Mr. Ryan also benefits from $150,000 annually as deferred compensation, which amount may be increased based on “performance and a market analysis.” UVA will also pay for Mr. Ryan’s annual dues and membership fees in professional associations of benefit to the University.
Mr. Ryan may be terminated for Cause, which is basically violating the duties specified in the Board Manual or some grievous act or omission, which would also terminate his professorship. If the BOV elects to terminate Mr. Ryan prior to his term, he would receive twelve months of continuation pay, plus accrued sabbatical, and would retain his professorship. Voluntary resignation would end compensation as President, but would permit payment of accrued sabbatical and the faculty position.
Mr. Ryan is permitted to engage in outside activities and to retain income therefrom, with clearance from the Rector (for example, the reputational aspect or the time commitment).
Perhaps the strangest clause is the one requiring a comprehensive annual physical exam by a physician of Mr. Ryan’s choice. It appears that it is Mr. Ryan’s duty only to tell the BOV that he has had the physical and the results “will not be disclosed to the University.” Which seems hard to square with all of the employees and students having to disclose Covid vaccination status, but maybe that’s just me.
In any event, President Ryan, at a minimum, gets annual compensation equal to $1,045,000, plus housing, benefits, and professional and social clubs.