Report: Purdue ex-president Cordova to get $500K bonus

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Former Purdue University President France Cordova is getting nearly $500,000 and reaping other financial benefits under a separation agreement approved by the school's board of trustees.

The Journal & Courier reported Saturday that it obtained a copy of the agreement after Purdue's trustees approved it Friday. The agreement between Cordova and the board's chairman, Keith Krach, is dated July 1, 2011 — the same day Cordova announced she planned to step down this month as president.

The agreement calls for Cordova to receive a "retention bonus payment" of $350,000 because she remained school president until July 15. It also states that if the trustees were satisfied with Cordova's performance during her last year on the job, she would receive an additional $150,000.

Krach said Cordova will indeed be paid the $150,000 and also will have the campus' remolded and expanded Recreational Sports Center named after her. The trustees voted Friday to name that building the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center.

"This is normal. It is very similar to [former president] Martin Jischke's — it is pretty typical," Krach said about the agreement.

Some of the other benefits Cordova's agreement includes is one year of health care benefits for her and her husband, Christian Foster, and the option for both of them to continue Purdue health benefits without premium coverage.

Cordova will also have an expense budget to set up an office and clerical support through July 15, 2017, or until Cordova is employed full-time. And if she returns to Purdue as a physics professor, her pay would be 75 percent of this year's salary, or $356,998.

Some of Cordova's benefits as president emeritus were known under her general contract agreement. Her 2007 employment contract gives her a one-year sabbatical at full pay and benefits to reorient herself to her teaching discipline or to prepare for duties as president emeritus.

For the 2012-13 year, Cordova's pay is $475,997 — a 2.2 percent raise from last year.

Cordova and her husband are moving to Santa Fe, N.M., where she will be a visiting faculty member at the not-for-profit Santa Fe Institute. She also is chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents and a member of the National Science Board.

Gov. Mitch Daniels was chosen in June as Purdue's next president. Provost Tim Sands will serve as acting president until January, when Daniels finishes his second term as governor.

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