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UK President Eli Capilouto Agrees to 10 Percent Pay Cut

Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has agreed to reduce his salary by 10 percent as the institution of higher learning prepares for financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the Board of Trustees, Capilouto proposed giving 10 percent of his salary for the 2020-21 academic year to the employee assistance fund set up by UK’s Department of Human Resources. The fund was established to help the 1,700 UK employees furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Capilouto said he will also encourage others in leadership positions at UK to donate to the HR fund. One who may join soon is Mark Stoops. Kentucky’s head football coach has been asked twice if he’d consider taking a pay cut. Each time he answered affirmatively, while stating he had not yet spoken to any of his employers about the proposition. Capilouto’s move could be the first of many at UK, following other administrations, like South Carolina and UofL, that have already announced pay cuts in the midst of the budgetary crisis.

The 2020-21 academic year is the final year of Capilouto’s contract. Board of Trustees Chair Robert Vance announced in a letter to campus, which you can read below, that Capilouto intends to extend his tenure as the leader of UK’s campus. Capilouto has been UK’s president since 2011.

Dear Campus Community,

On behalf of our Board of Trustees, please know how appreciative we are of the incredible work and sacrifices you are making on behalf of our University and the state we serve together.

Over the next several days and weeks, members of the administration will be finalizing a budget proposal for the coming year, one crafted in the midst of daunting economic and health challenges. At the same time, hundreds of your colleagues will continue their efforts to move toward a return to campus, and a reinvented sense of normal operations, this fall.

As we move forward, I also want to keep you informed about the next steps we plan to take with respect to our University’s leadership.

I am extremely pleased that President Capilouto has informed me and the Board of Trustees of his desire to extend his tenure as UK’s 12th president. This coming year – 2020-2021 – is the last year of his current contract. Over the next month, I will work with the President on that extension, the terms of which will be announced at our June meeting.

His leadership of our University along with Mary Lynne – and their proud representation of the work you do to further the mission of this place – has been remarkable. The last nine years, I believe, have been a period of unprecedented progress for our institution. Extending that leadership, and providing a steady sense of continuity at such an uncertain and unsettling moment, is critically important.

As part of that discussion, President Capilouto also has informed me in writing of his desire for the Board to reduce his annual salary this coming year by 10 percent. Further, he has asked that those funds be directed toward the employee assistance fund that has been established by our Department of Human Resources.

President Capilouto, along with our Board, will provide information about how others can donate to either this fund or one recently established at the Bluegrass Community Foundation, which will have a similar purpose. There is also an Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund that has been established for our students in need. That is overseen by our Division of Student and Academic Life.

We will work with President Capilouto to honor this request. With his permission, I’ve included his letter to me here. Not surprisingly, it is a letter more about you and your work than him and a contract.

Please know that work – conducted, now, in the most difficult and trying of circumstances – does not go unnoticed. And we couldn’t be more humbled and prouder for the opportunity to represent you and this institution, which is so indispensable for our Commonwealth’s future.

Thank you for all you do. We believe in you. We believe in this place – now, more than ever.

Robert Vance
Chair
University of Kentucky Board of Trustees

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

15 Comments for UK President Eli Capilouto Agrees to 10 Percent Pay Cut



  1. nocode96
    4:32 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    His salary is public record. He’s one of the four highest paid university presidents in this country, that doesn’t include what he makes from his retention plan contract with UK. 10% is better than nothing, to be sure, but this appears to be slightly patronizing. It’s the thought that counts though I guess.



  2. Mad Max
    5:48 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Strange way to say thank you for his willingness to give.

    Hate to be the guy that sits next to you in church when the plate comes around…



  3. Toofarfromky
    5:50 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    How is it patronizing? Idiotic comment. The man didn’t have to give anything. How much have you given? The society we live in dictates his and other high profile peoples salary. Why is it that someone who is successful gets vilified? Usually vilified by the lazy who are jealous of others success through initiative and hard work. I think it is wonderful he is giving 10% but it is his prerogative.



  4. J. Did
    6:02 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    I truly like and respect Dr. Capiluto. And I appreciate what he has accomplished for my alma mater. Ten percent is not enough – It should be more.

    We spent an astronomical amount of money to send one child to KENTUCKY through graduation – and another who finished first year essentially online. Meanwhile, my wife – who already took a significant pay reduction – has been furloughed for 3 months (40% reduction in 2020 salary). The good news is she ‘still’ has a job – perhaps…because who knows come September what the future holds.

    I consider us to be fortunate. There are many folks in far worse financial shape.

    My company will be eliminating positions this summer. If I am hit, there is no way I can afford to send my kid to UofK.

    Given what we are experiencing economically makes a voluntary 10% reduction in salary appear to have no ‘teeth’ and is merely lip service.



  5. Looother
    10:03 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    Next thing you know, Cal will also be agreeing to take a pay cut…



  6. sethkirk2
    11:47 pm May 21, 2020 Permalink

    I work at Lexmark, our CEO took a 40% pay cut, VPs took 30. Most employees had to take 20. Glad the people make the most money understood to take more during challenging times.
    Eli’s 10% seems like a drop in the bucket, especially when they are furloughing employees.
    Just doesn’t seem right



  7. BigBluSoTru
    6:35 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Cal is the highest paid public official in Ky and i find it funny he is not being pressed on this . Especially by our own BBN media. That issue wasn’t a problem for school 6. What’s the deal with Cal Matt you talk about every other school alot. Call your own glass house out too. Only right.



  8. Toofarfromky
    9:59 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Everyone seems to forget the issue. Everyone hopes to be above reproach, morally sound. That is wonderful, but to hold someone to lofty expectations is a dream. It is noones decision but mine to give. It is not wrong if I don’t want to give. How dare anyone judge or ridicule me. Same goes for our university president. If you are regretting sending your children to uk then you should have sent them somewhere else.



  9. ClutchCargo
    10:05 am May 22, 2020 Permalink

    To all the folks judging other people’s generosity: please let us know the percentage of your salary you have voluntarily given up. Thanks in advance.



    • BigBluSoTru
      1:47 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      I’m writing checks to Uk for silly amounts amounts constantly for my kids to get an education. And don’t freaking tell me i’m getting my moneys worth. While Cl making 7-9 mill a year bullshit.



    • ClutchCargo
      2:13 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      No doubt Cal paid silly amounts for his daughters to get an education. But you still haven’t said what percentage of you salary you have forfeited for the greater good. Please let us know so you can be told if it’s good enough.



  10. blueNtheFace
    1:59 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    In a world of today, there’s always a critic. I commend anyone that gives back when they can.



    • njcat
      9:35 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

      He didn’t give back what he could, he made a token gesture.

      Lots of people who earn WAY less gave up much more. 40 million gave up 100% for goodness sake.

      Cap and Cal have got plenty of money in the bank. They should have taken a 90% cut.



  11. J. Did
    4:41 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    Sethkirk2: You and your leadership at LEXMARK have my respect and admiration. I am impressed by the plan which cares for the employee – despite their personal salary sacrifices. It truly equates to corporate being in the same boat as the employees. This as opposed to certain corporate leaders accepting a ridiculous amount in a golden parachute which at this time incenses me as it should the public.



  12. njcat
    9:40 pm May 22, 2020 Permalink

    With all due respect, 10% is a joke. He and Cal make millions, and have many more millions in the bank. And Cal isn’t even working!

    How many of those laid off and furloughed workers could be kept on if those two had donated their salaries for the year?