The Number of People Who Earn More Than $1 Million Annually Doing This Job Has Doubled Since Last Year

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

BALTIMORE (AP) — A new survey says the number of public college presidents earning more than $1 million more than doubled from the year before.

The study by The Chronicle of Higher Education says nine college presidents earned more than $1 million in total compensation in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, compared to just four in the previous year. Public college presidents first exceeded the $1 million total compensation mark in 2004. The study takes into account base salary, bonuses, deferred pay, retirement and severance pay.

In this June 7, 2013 file photo, former Ohio State University president Gordon Gee gives his retirement speech during a board of trustees meeting in Columbus, Ohio. (Image source: AP/Jay LaPrete, File)

Gordon Gee topped the list, earning $6.1 million at the helm of Ohio State University. Gee resigned that post last year after making comments about Roman Catholics, the University of Notre Dame and Southeastern Conference schools. He is now president of West Virginia University.

Ohio State at the time called Gee’s comments unacceptable and said it had placed him on a “remediation plan” to change his behavior. Gee said then he didn’t regret the way he conducted himself as a higher education leader.

“I have regrets when I have said things that I shouldn’t have said, but I have no regrets about having a sense of humor and having a thick skin and enjoying life,” he said.

Gee’s base salary was $850,000 and almost 40 percent of his earnings came from deferred compensation, according to Bloomberg News, citing the CHE’s report.

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R. Bowen Loftin, the former president of Texas A&M University, was the second-highest paid at $1.6 million last year followed by Hamid Shirvani at the North Dakota University System, who was paid $1.3 million. Shirvani has also departed.

Shirvani’s annual salary was $349,000 plus benefits, Linda Donlin, a university spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. His compensation was higher because of the buyout of his three-year contract after less than a year. Nobody at Texas A&M returned phone calls for comment.

At least five of the highest-paid presidents have since resigned from their institutions, according to the survey, which may have resulted in higher pay packages because top administrators often get deferred compensation on their departure.