UCA President Lu Hardin announced his resignation to the university board of trustees about 10 minutes ago, David Koon reports from Conway.

In a statement read to the board, Hardin said he regretted his handling of a secret $300,000 bonus he apparently engineered in July.


Hardin, who has had surgery for eye cancer, said “I must make recovery my priority at this time.”

Rush Harding, a member of the board, said last night that recovery of a focus on education was the school’s priority.


Nothing has yet been disclosed about the terms of the resignation. Hardin had four years left on his contract; word is that he’ll receive a $1 million buyout.

UCA Vice President Tom Courtway has been named interim president.



The board just issued this statement:

“The board of trustees has negotiated a buyout of President Hardin’s contract. Due to his health considerations, the president has been granted a sabbatical for the balance of this fiscal year. On July 1, 2009, there will be a balance of $670,162.35 on the public portion of the president’s contract. Those monies will be paid from the trustees’ discretionary fund in a lump sum or over the 39-month term as structured by Vice President Tom Courtway. Please be reminded that these funds are generated by bookstore or other auxiliary revenues. Pursuant to the recent attorney general’s opinion, no private or deferred compensation will be paid with those funds.

The president also has a private portion of his contract of $47,570.00 annually that decreases each year. The UCA Foundation has agreed to fund the current year private  fund portion of the president’s salary. Any future private fund portion to be paid would be at the discretion and consideration of the foundation board.


The president’s compensation for the balance of this sabbatical year is already funded in our 2008-09 budget. This agreement will not impact our current year’s budget in any way.

The severance package that is funded on July 1, 2009, or on terms suggested by Tom Courtway, will be paid with funds from the Trustees Discretionary Fund. Any payment for the private portion of the president’s contract will be paid from private gifts restricted specifically for that purpose.

We wish the president well as he battles his health issues and we appreciate the fine work he has done on behalf of UCA.”

UPDATE II: The board of trustees vote on compensation was 5 to 1. Dr. Michael Stanton was the sole no vote. He’s in surgery and unavailable for comment. Dr. Harold Chakales was not present for the vote.

UPDATE III: We just got a call from UCA Board of Trustees member Rush Harding, who cleared up some of our questions about how soon-to-be former UCA president  Lu Hardin’s compensation — both state and private — is going to shake out.

Harding said that the Harding’s public-funded  compensation will be $17,184 a month, and he will recieve an additional $3,964 from the UCA Foundation. The total amount of Hardin’s compensation over the 39 months remaining on his contract, therefore, is $670,176 from public funds, and potentially $47,570 from private funds — though Harding said that after July 1, 2009,  whether or not the private funds will continue to be paid will be at the board’s discretion, as stipulated in Hardin’s agreement with the board. 

“As it allows in that document, any future private fund portion to be paid would be at the discretion of the Foundation board,” Rush Harding said. “The Foundation board is not obligated to fund anything in the next fiscal year, but if someone says, ‘I think the former president deserves that’ and feels moved to do it, well that’s their business. But there’s no obligation.”

Harding also said that said that if the statement he wrote for the board improperly used the word “sabbatical” — which might be construed to imply that Hardin would remain an employee of UCA in some capacity — it was in error. Hardin, Harding said, will no longer be an employee of UCA after his resignation takes effect on September 16. Harding has since called back and said that Hardin would remain an employee.

UPDATE IV: See our player on the homepage for video footage of Hardin’s resignation.