Eligible faculty members will receive a salary bonus of approximately $2,000 each in their Nov. 30, 2009, paychecks through projected available resources from the Lester A. and Stella Porter Russell Fund. The Office of the Provost has identified 650 faculty members as eligible according to the parameters set by Stella Porter Russell in her will. The net amounts received by individuals will vary based on each person’s employment tax withholdings.
The annual supplement is $200 less than that for 2008, which was awarded to 653 faculty members. Every year the amount of the supplement is based on the number of faculty who are eligible, the expected spending distribution from the endowment, and the effect of current investment market conditions on the endowment.
The slight decrease in the bonus reflects the impact of the global economic downturn on SMU’s endowment, says Mike Condon, who as SMU treasurer manages the University’s endowment and planned giving assets. The endowment’s market value declined by $369 million during the 2008-09 fiscal year, to total $1.032 billion as of May 31. The total return declined 24.2 percent, consistent with endowments of similar size nationwide.
“The financial markets began to stabilize in March 2009, recovering some of their previous declines. SMU’s endowment has benefited accordingly,” Condon wrote in the Treasurer’s 2009 Endowment Report. “We are hopeful that the stabilization is a sign that the worst of the financial crisis is over. As always, we remain focused on pursuing strategies and identifying opportunities that will enable the endowment to meet its long-term return goals – and allow support for the University’s programs and priorities to grow significantly over time.”
In her will, Russell stipulated that SMU establish an endowment fund in memory of her late husband and herself, to be used to supplement SMU faculty salaries.
Full-time faculty, including those on paid leave, are eligible for Russell Fund bonuses, as well as visiting professors with 2-year contracts and professors on leave without pay for 1 semester. Eligibility for professors on leave without pay for 2 semesters and administrators is subject to decision by the appropriate dean.