Rogers State University: Lowest four-year graduation rate, nine employees over $100,000 a year

Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma, had three employees who earned more ($147,000 a year) than the state’s chief executive in Fiscal Year 2010. Six other employees had earnings between $100,000 and the governor’s wage, CapitolBeatOK’s examination of state records has found. 

Rogers State has the lowest four-year graduation rate among Oklahoma’s taxpayer-funded institutions of higher education.  

CapitolBeatOK is studying the compensation of public employees in Higher Education, using data available at, the Office of State Finance’s Open Books and other sources. 

The vast majority of government employees earning more than the governor work in colleges and universities, CapitolBeatOK has found. 

At Rogers State, the school’s top earner was former state legislator Larry D. Rice, who in 2010 was paid $215,000 as university president. 

Earning $165,000 a year was Thomas M. Volturo, executive vice president for administration and finance. At $150,000 a year was Richard Beck, vice president for academic affairs. 

Earning less than the governor but more than $100,000 a year were six other government employees at Rogers State. Melvin R. Brown, assistant to the president, garnered $128,000 annually, while a vice president, Dannette L. Boyle, brought home $109,464.

Dr. Peter A. MacPherson, a professor in business information technology, was paid $106,080. Roy Gardner, a department head, was paid $105,678. Mark A. Meadors, a comptroller, was compensated at $104,418. Ronald B. Garrison, a dean, was paid $102,967.

An analysis of Higher Education performance, summarized by CapitolBeatOK earlier this year, found that in 2009, only 4 percent of students graduated from Rogers State University within four years. Only 14 percent graduated within six years. 

The detailed examination of higher education spending on classroom instruction, as compared to other expenses, reported in that earlier story was a joint project of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). 

In an examination of Higher Education spending in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Watchdog editor Peter J. Rudy found that average annual spending increases at Rogers State, since Fiscal year 2003, are nearly 7 percent. 
Rudy noted that amount “far exceeds the rate of inflation over that period. In the last three years, when Oklahoma faced a revenue failure and two budget shortfalls, RSU increased its budget by 3.2 percent, 4.2 percent and 4.1 percent.
In FY 2003, Rogers State gained about 71 percent of its revenue from state appropriations, while 27 percent came from tuition and fees. For Fiscal Year 2012, legislative appropriations were only 46 percent of the institution’s budget, while tuition/fees made up 51 percent, Rudy reported. This is part of a pattern shifting spending away from state appropriations and putting greater reliance on tuition/fees.

The steady ascent of spending at Rogers State University is illustrated graphically in a chart that can be studied here