The University of Arizona's interim provost now has the job permanently, and at a record salary.

Andrew Comrie was named the UA's second-in-command Tuesday in an announcement by President Ann Weaver Hart.

Comrie, who's been earning $300,000 a year as interim provost since last summer, will see his pay jump to $408,000 - substantially more than the UA's last few permanent provosts, whose salaries were between $300,000 and $350,000.

"The UA is poised for a new season of excellence, which requires innovation, discipline, creativity and a spirit of partnership and collaboration among our leaders," Hart said in a news release. "Andrew Comrie exemplifies these and many other qualities that will make him an excellent provost."

The news release didn't mention Comrie's salary. J.C. Mutchler, the new executive director for Hart's office, said in an interview that the $408,000 figure is below the median $416,000 salary for provosts nationwide.

"Hiring first-class talent right now is expensive, and you get what you pay for," Mutchler said.

Comrie said in the news release he looks forward to seeing the UA "emerge as one of the world's best universities for the 21st century."

When Comrie was named interim provost in August, he initially was described by Hart as an adviser - not a candidate - in the national search for a permanent one.

Hart later changed the UA's recruiting rules to allow him to be a candidate for the permanent job. He was chosen over two other finalists in the executive search that cost about $65,000 plus expenses.

The other finalists were Henry Foley, vice president for research and graduate school dean at Pennsylvania State University; and Jack Knott, dean of the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.

Comrie, a researcher and climatologist, has been at the UA for 20 years as a professor and administrator and is held in high esteem on campus, said Wanda Howell, the UA's chair of faculty. Howell took part in the provost search and reviewed comment cards filled out by UA personnel during meetings with finalists.

Nearly every comment about Comrie was "very positive," she said.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at or at 573-4138.