The Patriot Talon is continuing its analysis of the salaries and public financials of the university. Not everyone might be familiar with Lucas Roebuck, the Vice President of Marketing and Chief Communication Officer for The University of Texas at Tyler, but you should be.
Lucas Roebuck markets the largest Division II university in East Texas, and is paid $174,180 per year to do so, according to the 2020 Texas Legislative Budget Board’s Higher Education Administrative Accountability Report.
Technically, he’s only paid $173,400 as salary, because $780 of the total is listed as a Non-Salary Benefit, and goes towards a work phone—described as a “Cell Phone Allowance” in the report.
According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a Chief Communication Officer in Tyler, Texas is $127,475, which is $46,705 less than Roebuck’s salary.
Prior to his position at UT Tyler, Roebuck was the Chief Communications Officer at Siloam Springs’ John Brown University, a Christian liberal arts college in northwestern Arkansas. At that role, it is unclear what his salary was, due to the school not being funded from public money. Their outside, non-tuition funding comes from private donors and grants. Roebuck ran for office in 2002 and in 2014, for Districts 97 and 87 in the Arkansas House of Representatives, respectively. According to information from Ballotpedia and the Arkansas Secretary of State, and based on the required statements of financial interest from those campaigns, he at least met the required income of $1,000 per year to run.
Good for him!
Based on data from the LBB’s Higher Education Administrative Accountability Reports, the highest-paid institutional equivalent to Roebuck is Tadd Pullin, Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His compensation package, encompassing general revenue—which is a standardized amount allocated to that role that may change based on legislative decisions—a practice plan, performance incentives, and benefit programs and some other element totaling $259,090 labelled as “Longevity.”
As stated in our previous coverage of President Tidwell’s salary information, the median household income of East Texas is just over $57,000, which equates to about a third of Roebuck’s.
But how does his salary compare amongst the other UT system CCOs?
Roebuck’s nearest System equivalent (for which data could be acquired) is Joseph Izbrand with The University of Texas at San Antonio, who makes $161,877. UTSA’s Fast Facts brochure lists their total enrollment at 32,101, more than triple the size of UT Tyler.
For a school more than three times our size, their Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications makes $12,903 less.
Let me break it down even further.
Based on Izbrand’s salary, and the enrollment at UTSA, he’s paid $5.04 per student. According to an article in The Tyler Morning Telegraph, UT Tyler’s enrollment that same Fall 2019 semester had fallen by 5%, to 9,810. Roebuck, on the other hand, brings in roughly $17.76 per student (a fitting rate based on our mascot). For a school a third of UTSA’s size, our CCO is paid more than three times as much.
But what about someone who makes more than him?
For that, we look to Patrick Martin Gonzalez at The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley, who makes the next highest amount in the UT System, $183,000. He recently got a raise at the end of 2019 of over 30% to bring him to that amount. UTRGV had a Fall 2019 enrollment of 29,619. Gonzalez’s rate of pay per student comes out to about $6.18 per student.
Not even UT Austin, the largest school in the UT System, can boast a per-student ratio like UT Tyler. Gary Susswein, head of marketing at UT, makes $262,500 per year, and with a Fall 2019 enrollment of 51,823 students, his per-student rate comes out to $5.06.
To that point, it’s not as exorbitant as it could be, though. Not to trash Tadd Pullin, but his rate of pay, based on the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center’s enrollment count of 254 students, is $3,603.20.
But what about outside the System?
Comparatively, Kimberly Lessner, the Vice President of Marketing for Tyler Junior College, is Roebuck’s closest equivalent geographically. Even with her almost 9% raise over last year’s salary, her $153,157 falls short, but not by much. According to TJC’s website, 12,585 students were enrolled as of Fall 2019. Proportionally, Lessner makes $12.17 per student at TJC, which is closer.
Ironically, our previous reporting labelled President Tidwell’s $400,000-salary (which has now increased to $425,037—a combination of a 3% inflation raise, and country club dues totalling $13,037) as the “poor” university. Read our story about President Michael Tidwell’s and Athletic Director Howard Patterson’s country club dues on our website.
Our VP of Marketing, however, for the smallest UT System school, is proportionally the highest-paid non-medical/administrative CCO in the system.
We have asked Roebuck for comment about his compensation, and have received no response.
Stay tuned to future stories in this series examining the UT Tyler administrative salaries.