Raymond Burse is Kentucky State University's President. He recently felt a strong need to give staff on campus an increase in pay. Many of the people who he felt kept the University running day to day were only earning $7.25 an hour. Burse, boosted them up to $10.25 an hour by making some personal sacrifices.
In a huge step to show his respect and admiration for what these people do day after day, Burse took a $90,000 pay cut. He explained his reasoning to a local paper:
"I did it to bring the lowest wage employees up to a level where I think they should be. These are the people who work hard and make the place look good."
Burse has had an incredibly successful life. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and Rhodes Scholar, but his upbringing taught him the value of hard work. He worked several minimum wage jobs. His parents were uneducated and poor, so he identified with the idea of just getting by. Burse admitted that he brought his decision to a "shocked" Kentucky State University board thinking he was doing something low key, but word of his kind gesture couldn't be contained.
The custodians, grounds keepers, and clerical workers are the epitome of hard workers in this country. They do a load of work day to day for minimal pay, and this University President is hoping to give his staff a little help. I personally think this was a very thoughtful gesture. It's one thing to think about doing something, but a total different thing to act on it in this way. Burse isn't hoping that his gesture will spark other universities to do anything, but that this was something he thought long and hard about. It was what he wanted to do. Shout out to him.