Lefton sets own goals for his bonus

Nick Glunt

President Lester Lefton sets the goals that determine his performance bonus. These goals ­— based on terms in his employment contract — are then approved by the Kent State Board of Trustees. Lefton’s bonus this year was $97,470.

“If I meet those objectives,” Lefton said, referring to the goals he sets every year, “then I am awarded this performance pay. There’s every expectation that I will meet those objectives, and I have for the four years that I’ve been here, and I have every expectation that I will meet them again.”

The goals he set for himself last year involved enrollment, retention, fundraising and research. He said he completed all his goals, “and then some.”

Lefton said although he is currently working on the goals for this new fiscal year that started July 1, the goals will likely be similar to last year’s.


• Recruit a freshman class of about 3950 students

• Maintain a record level of fundraising

• Increase research funding

• Collaborate with community colleges to boost enrollment at Kent State

• Increase the number of students studying abroad

• Increase the number of students of color

• Increase total enrollment

• Optimize the library as a learning resource center

Board Chairman Pat Mullin said there were also more minor goals like creating a strategic plan for regional campuses and keeping a balanced budget. Mullin was not specific as to the goals themselves and was unavailable to provide a list as to what they are.

“It’s been a good year all-in-all,” Mullin said.

He cited the record fundraising, enrollment and retention rates as contributing factors.

Lefton also earned an $11,696 raise to his salary, which was also pre-determined in his contract, he said.

“I don’t set my own salary,” Lefton said. “The Board of Trustees has the obligation of setting my salary, evaluating my performance and determining … any pay for performance, what you would call ‘bonuses.’”

Lefton said he donated more than $10,000 to a scholarship fund last year. He said he has to talk to his wife about donating again this new fiscal year.

“While I’m well-compensated,” he said, “I am only the fifth-highest paid president in Ohio.”

Contact administration reporter Nick Glunt at [email protected].