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Salaries growing for college presidents

From staff, wire reports

POSTED: November 19, 2007 5:03 a.m.

GAINESVILLE — College presidents are getting healthy raises, and a dozen at private universities earn $1 million or more including benefits, according to a new survey published Monday.

Salaries at public universities remain a tier lower but also are on the rise, with eight presidents earning $700,000 or more last year, six more than the year before, according to the annual survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Presidential salaries are facing closer scrutiny at a time when college prices continue to rise well above the rate of inflation.

The survey reports salaries from private colleges for 2005-2006, the latest year for which they are available. Figures for public colleges are for 2006-2007.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Brenau University president Ed Schrader received $160,318 in pay, $41,692 in benefits and a $58,191 expense account. Schrader began as Brenau’s president in January 2005.

The survey shows that Piedmont College president W. Ray Cleere earned $218,000 in pay and $70,550 in benefits, an increase from $135,000 in pay and $6,750 in benefits in 1999-2000.

The Chronicle doesn’t report on other area institutions.

It does show that University of Georgia president Michael Adams received $354,604 in salary, a house and car provided by the state, $150,000 in deferred compensation, $13,828 in retirement pay, $40,000 in longevity pay and an expense account.

And Georgia Tech president G. Wayne Clough received $383,175 in salary, $17,000 in private sources for a car, a house provided by the state, $133,125 in deferred compensation, $17,886 in retirement pay and an expense account.

Among area institutions, Gainesville State College president Martha Nesbitt earned $116,340 in salary and $66,902 in benefits for 2004 and 2005 and $121,040 in salary and $68,712 in benefits for 2006, said spokeswoman Sloan Jones.

Benefits include retirement and insurance. Also, as a college president, she receives a housing and travel and transportation allowance, Jones said.

Neither Joshua Preston, spokesman for North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, nor John Millsaps, spokesman for the University System of Georgia, could be reached for comment.

However, according to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, NGCSU president David Potter earned a salary of $201,672 and travel benefits of $15,729 as of June 30, 2006.

Mike Light, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education, said that Michael Moye, president of Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, earns a salary of $141,711, and Ruth Nichols of North Georgia Technical College in Clarkesville, $136,921.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education survey, of the 12 presidents earning $1 million or more, only three continue to lead their institutions.

Richard Freeland, who stepped down in August 2006 at Northeastern University, was identified as the highest-paid president, with $2,887,775 in total compensation, including $2,373,285 in benefits. James P. Gallagher, who stepped down at Philadelphia University, had $2,557,219 in total compensation. Freeland’s compensation included the present value of a long-term annuity for retirement, and Gallagher’s included deferred compensation that accrued over five years.

Presidents who left their jobs during the recorded year were ranked separately. That list included Benjamin Ladner, who received $4.3 million in pay and benefits in fiscal 2006 from American University. Ladner stepped down following revelations of excessive personal spending of university money, and most of his compensation came from severance and deferred payouts.

The highest-paid, still-sitting president was William Brody at Johns Hopkins University, who received $1,938,024 in total compensation. A little less than $1.5 million came in the form of salary from the university, including about $920,000 in deferred compensation.

The highest-paid public university president listed in the survey was David P. Roselle of the University of Delaware, who received $874,687 in 2005-2006. Delaware considers itself a quasi-private institution so those figures were the most recent. Roselle retired earlier this year.

He was followed by John T. Casteen III of the University of Virginia, with $753,672, and Mark Emmert of the University of Washington at $752,700.

Most college presidents don’t earn nearly that much, but salaries at the most prestigious institutions are rising rapidly. At private research institutions, median pay is up 37 percent over the last five years to $528,105.

Still, not one of the top 10 highest-paid presidents at public universities with Division 1 athletics programs earned as much as their school’s football coach. For example, Emmert’s compensation was about half that of Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham, and Virginia coach Al Groh earned more than $1 million more than Casteen.

For the first time, the Chronicle also surveyed the salaries of community college presidents.

At the largest community colleges and systems, median pay is about $250,000 — compared to about $400,000 at the largest public four-year colleges.

However, some community college presidents earned substantially more. The leader was Michael B. McCall of the Kentucky Community and Technical College system, receiving total compensation of about $611,000 on a base salary of $286,000.



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