Posted: July 22, 2009

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees praised Chancellor James H. McCormick Wednesday for exceptional performance during difficult economic times.

"Trustees are pleased with Chancellor McCormick’s overall leadership and the progress toward the achievement of the system’s goals," according to a statement released by the board’s Ad Hoc Chancellor Assessment Committee.

The statement noted the board approves of the chancellor’s emphasis on mentoring and development of the system’s leadership and will look to the chancellor to continue succession planning for key leadership positions to sustain the system for the many challenges ahead.

The statement also said the chancellor’s ability to pursue the board’s legislative agenda was enhanced by the positive legislative relationships he works to maintains. In the year ahead, the statement said long-range planning and achieving even greater administrative efficiencies remain high priorities for the board and the chancellor.

The board did not increase McCormick's base annual salary, which will remain at $360,000, a decision that reflects the wage freeze in place for nearly all other system employees. He received a one-time performance incentive of $32,500 based on his performance in 2008-2009. He was eligible for a performance incentive of up to $50,000.

“Over the past several years, the board has moved toward a more aggressive performance pay arrangement with the chancellor, reflecting the board’s general philosophy of basing compensation on demonstrated performance and achievements,” said Trustee Ruth Grendahl, who chairs the board’s human resources committee.

“Based on his performance, I believe the board could justify awarding a higher percentage of the $50,000 performance pay incentive, but we are mindful of the economic realities facing our system and other system employees.” McCormick’s contract expires June 30, 2011.

McCormick, 70, was the founding chancellor of the State System of Higher Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania before assuming his position July 2, 2001, as head of the Minnesota system. McCormick and his wife, Dr. Maryan Garner McCormick, live in Woodbury.