UI president search price tag: $302,295

The University of Illinois spent about $302,295 on the presidential search for new UI leader Michael Hogan, according to 956 pages of documents sent out by the University on Thursday. The expenses included about $130,000 to Isaacson, Miller — an executive search firm — as well as about $142,000 in lodging, travel and food expenses for candidates and search committee members, among other things.

Hogan officially took the reigns as the University’s top executive from interim-president Stanley Ikenberry on July 1. He had been president of the University of Connecticut since 2007, as well as a provost at the University of Iowa between 2004 and 2007 and dean of arts and sciences at Ohio State University,

In addition to the larger totals, the documents detail smaller expenses accrued during the process, which lasted from mid-November 2009 through May of this year. About $30,000 was spent on advertising the position, with invoices showing posts on websites such as Higher Ed Job and Inside Higher Ed. Print ads in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Insight into Diversity and Women in Higher Education cost $6,002.98 and ran during January and February.

A $20,000 deposit was also placed at the Hyatt Regency hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare airport during March. The money was intended for general “hotel expenses (sleeping rooms, meeting rooms, catering, security, etc.) during March 15-19, 2010 for presidential search meetings.” The final bill included costs for phone installation plus three local and 28 long-distance calls made between March 16-17, totaling $635.34.

Travel costs such as train tickets for committee members (a $71 round trip to Chicago for Trustee Karen Hasara on April 9, for example) and a 15-person van to transport the committee from the Illini Union to the president’s house on Florida Avenue ($159.54), a 1.4 mile trip, were also outlined in the records.

Specifics of the search were ordered to be released Monday by the Illinois Attorney General’s office, more than three months after the search ended. The Daily Illini requested the documents May 17 through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, and along with a handful of other media outlets, waited for a final determination from the Public Access Counselor on whether the information could be made public after it was initially denied by the University.

While Hogan has been in office for a little over a month, the University has had to deflect some criticism for paying him a base salary of $620,000 in the wake of budget cuts and a 9.5 percent increase in tuition. Hogan’s predecessors, Ikenberry and B. Joseph White (who resigned in September 2009), were paid base salaries of $450,000 per year.

The money spent on the presidential search is about double what was spent on the search for a new provost, according to a Daily Illini investigation published in February. The provost search, costing the University $147,500, was cancelled without finding a replacement for Linda Katehi, who left the University in May 2009 to become Chancellor at UC-Davis.

The Urbana campus is still without a permanent Chancellor, as Richard Herman resigned in October 2009. Former Dean of ACES Robert Easter has been serving as provost/chancellor in the interim role. Hogan said last month that he was in no rush to replace Easter, but that a search committee would most likely start work by January.