Virginia Commonwealth University officials introduced 42-year-old Michael Rao as the school’s new president on Friday, hailing the choice as a “leader for our academic institution’s future who could easily be our old president’s grandkid.”
Rao, president of Central Michigan University, will succeed Eugene P. Trani on July 1, VCU said. “And, with President Trani turning 70 this year, an age gap of 28 years means he could totally be the new president’s grandfather, say, if Trani had a kid at 14 or something, and then his kid had a kid at 14, too,” said university rector Thomas Rosenthal, describing the new president as “intelligent, transformative and sort of like the young JFK of college presidents.”
As the leader of the university and its affiliated health system, Rao will receive an annual salary of $488,500 and a signing bonus of $275,000. Rao’s compensation package was based upon his performance at CMU, where the six-foot-six-inch college president averaged 30.12 points per game, led the team to three national championships, and gained a number of high-profile endorsements.