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Freeman unanimously named new NIU president

September 20, 2018

DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Lisa Freeman as the 13th president of NIU during a special meeting Thursday morning.

Freeman will make a $450,000 base salary, the same amount her predecessor, Doug Baker made before he resigned in June 2017 amid scandal. Freeman will also get $25,000 in additional annual deferred compensation and $25,000 in additional annual performance-based compensation.

The contract also says any potential severance payments will comply with the new Illinois Government Severance Pay Act, which becomes effective next year.

Trustees voted last week to approve Freeman becoming the next permanent president of the university after they considered input from university constituents and surrounding community members. On Sept. 13, they authorized the commencement of contract negotiations between the parties over the terms and conditions of such an appointment.

Freeman made $203,000 with $76,500 in additional compensation as vice president and provost under Baker. He resigned after a state investigation found that, since Baker became president in 2013, NIU officials improperly classified high-paying consulting positions as affiliate employees on Baker’s orders to avoid state rules that require competitive bidding. Freeman became acting president a month later, a role for which she was paid $360,000 with no additional compensation, according to Illinois Board of Higher Education data.

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