Raymond Burse is the epitome of a boss who has his employees best interest at heart.
As the interim president at Kentucky State University, Burse has agreed to give up more than $90,000 of his salary to help increase the pay of minimum wage workers at the university.
“My whole thing is I don’t need to work,” Burse tells Lexington Herald-Leader. “This is not a hobby, but in terms of the people who do the hard work and heavy lifting, they are at the lower pay scale.”
Burse’s annual salary had been set at $349,869, but after inquiring about the number of employees who earn below minimum wage salaries and discussing it with the KSU Board of Regents, he decided to decrease his pay to help increase the pay of other university workers. Burse’s new annual salary is now set at $259,745.
“This is not a publicity stunt,” he tells the newspaper. “You don’t give up $90,000 for publicity. I did this for the people. This is something I’ve been thinking about from the very beginning.”
Burse served as KSU’s president from 1982 to 1989, and later became an executive at General Electric Co. for 17 years. He replaces Mary Evans Sias, who served as university president for 10 years.
Burse is expected to hold the position for only 12 months until a replacement is found, but the rise in pay for employees is expected to remain in place even after his departure.
David Boone used to sleep on this bench in Artha Woods Park when he had nowhere else to go. Next fall, the senior at Cleveland’s MC2STEM High School is headed to Harvard.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — David Boone had a system. There wasn’t much the then-15-year-old could do about the hookers or drug deals around him when he slept in Artha Woods Park. And the spectator’s bench at the park’s baseball diamond wasn’t much of a bed.
But the aspiring engineer, now 18 and headed to Harvard University in the fall, had no regular home. Though friends, relatives and school employees often put him up, there were nights when David had no place to go, other than the park off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
So he says he made the best of those nights on the wooden bench.
His book bag became his pillow, stuffed with textbooks first — for height, he says — and papers on top for padding.
In the morning, David would duck into his friend Eric’s house after Eric’s parents left early for work so he could shower and dress before heading to class at Cleveland’s specialized MC2STEM High School. David expects to graduate from there next month as salutatorian of the new school’s first graduating class.
“I’d do my homework in a rapid station, usually Tower City since they have heat, and I’d stay wherever I could find,” he said.
If you meet David Boone today, his gentle, confident demeanor and easygoing laugh betray no cockiness over racking up a college acceptance record that others brag about for him. He was accepted at 22 of the 23 schools he applied to — including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown and Penn.
He also gives no hint of the often harsh and nomadic life he has led. The medical problems he faced as a boy, a splintered family, being homeless — it all could have left him bitter and angry.
But David says that giving up would have left himstuck in a dead-end life, so it was never an option.
“I didn’t know what the results of not giving up were going to be, but it was better than nothing and having no advantages,” he said. “I wanted to be in a position to have options to do what I want to do.”