EDITORIAL: Cartwright has earned every penny

After nearly 15 years as president of one of the largest universities in Ohio, President Carol Cartwright of Kent State announced Oct. 5 that she will retire after a successor is hired to take her place.

The Daily Kent Stater published a series of stories about Cartwright last week. Those five stories detailed what Cartwright has done for the university, the way in which she has supported the university’s needs, her love for cooking and her family and the ups and downs her relationship with university faculty has weathered. Her resume is irrefutably extensive.

A long resume does not make a great president. A tradition of strong leadership, compassionate negotiation and hard work in the interest of the university does. Considering that definition, this editorial board believes Cartwright is a great president whose successor has large shoes to fill.

Enrollment rose during much of Cartwright’s tenure at Kent State, thanks in part to her drive to maintain attractive programs at the university and to fund scholarship programs. Additionally, Cartwright has been busy traveling to places within and outside of Ohio to recruit potential incoming students. It has been her goal to see the university grow, and before it declined this year, enrollment peaked at 24,347 last year, according to Daily Kent Stater archives.

Outside of bringing more students to Kent State, Cartwright has led efforts to improve the university for both its future students and its current students. She has supported diversity, led the renovation of many buildings on campus that needed the attention and changed the structure of various programs to better educate and prepare Kent State students.

Cartwright has done her job, and she has done it well.

Throughout her years at the university, Cartwright has been criticized for the salary she earns. Many feel it is too high.

Yes, she earns $257,127 per year. Keep in mind, however, that she earns less than the majority of Ohio university and college presidents, despite the fact that she leads the third-largest institution of higher education.

The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes lists of university president earnings, and its figures include perks such as cars and houses. According to the Chronicle, in 2004, the president of The Ohio State University earned $527,252, a figure that includes a car, a house and a performance bonus of $81,252. That same year, the president of the University of Cincinnati earned $343,000, while the president of Ohio University earned $312,100, which included an entertainment allowance, use of the university airplane and $25,000 for his wife for her work as presidential spouse. The list does not end there.

That same year, Cartwright earned $319,585 total. One can see that her earnings were much less than those of the Ohio State University president, while comparable to those of the president of Ohio University.

This editorial board has no concerns about Cartwright’s salary. Through her dedication to the university, Cartwright could have earned much more last year – and she still would have deserved every penny.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.