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The Dartmouth
June 13, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

College presidents take pay cuts due to economy

Following the lead of Wall Street's remaining Chief Executive Officers, several college and university presidents are taking pay cuts, refusing raises and giving back to their schools in an effort to help their institutions weather the current economic crisis. These announcements came after a week of continued economic decline and the release of The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual survey of university presidents' compensation.

College President James Wright is the lowest paid president in the Ivy League, earning $569,761 in total compensation for the 2006 to 2007 fiscal year, according to the survey. Wright has not mentioned whether or not his compensation will be reduced this year.

James and Susan regularly contribute to the College, specifically to financial aid initiatives, according to director of media relations Roland Adams.

The president of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, and her husband gave a $100,000 gift to the university to benefit undergraduate research last week, according to The New York Times. Gutmann was one of eight private university presidents whose salaries surpassed $1 million in 2006, according to the Chronicle's survey.

Mark Wrighton, the chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, announced he will take a 5 percent salary cut on January 1, and another 5 percent reduction on July 1, 2009, according to an article in The Times. WashU has experienced a 25 percent decline in the university's endowment since July 1, The Times reported. Wrighton earned $738,242 in total compensation during the 2006-2007 fiscal year, according to the survey.

University of Washington's President Mark Emmert -- the nation's second highest paid public university president, earning $887,870 -- turned down a raise this year. Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University, will take a voluntary $100,000 pay cut in response to budget problems. Floyd earned $623,000 last fiscal year, the survey reported.

Richard McCormick, president of Rutgers University, and Michael Hogan, president of University of Connecticut in Storrs, have also recently turned down bonuses in light of the current economy, the Chronicle reported.

Twelve university presidents earned more than $1 million in the 2006-2007 fiscal year. President David Sargent of Suffolk University earned $2.8 million for the year making him the highest paid university president, according to the survey. During that time period, tuition for private institutions rose by 6.3 percent on average, according to the College Board. Private research universities, including the Ivy League and other selective institutions, paid their presidents a median salary of $527,172 in 2006-2007, a decrease of less than 1 percent from 2005-2006, the survey said.

With the exception of Harvard University's interim president Derek Bok, the seven remaining Ivy League presidents earned slightly under $900,000 on average. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger was the highest paid Ivy League president, earning $1,411,894 in total compensation.

Public university presidents' compensation rose by an average of 7.6 percent last year, according to the survey.

Wright's compensation for 2006-2007 included a base salary of $470,000 with $99,761 in benefits and no expense account, up 8.1 percent from his earnings the previous year, the survey reported. Since Wright took over the president's post during the 1998-1999 fiscal year, his pay has increased by 56.7 percent, a figure far lower than pay increases for other Ivy League presidents, according to the survey.

Bollinger's pay has increased by 123.5 percent, or $780,252, during his four year tenure. Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, increased her salary by 79.2 percent in the last 5 years -- from $432,900 in 2001-2002 to $775,715 in 2007-2008, according to the survey.

Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the trade group the American Council on Education, told the Wall Street Journal that the compensation data used in the Chronicle's survey was gathered before the current economic crisis began.