Poking Into Presidential Pay

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a fascinating peek into the pay of Virginia college and university presidents. Reporter Andrew Petkofsky also provides some insight into the nature of the job.

What struck me was the relatively equal pay levels for presidents provided by the state. With only a few anomalies, such as at Norfolk State, presidents receive similar compensation. The largest part of presidential salary and perks are paid to the presidents by private groups.

It’s a tough job with a complex array of responsibilities. In a probably unfortunate similarity to politicians, the presidents appear to be forced to spend an inordinate amount of time on fundraising-related activities.

In comparison to CEOs or football coaches, the pay is relatively modest, but, considering the whole package, I think it’s about right.

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6 responses to “Poking Into Presidential Pay”

  1. I found interesting that the pay for presidents at schools in our formerly gender and racially segregated system that served blacks and women remain the lowest paid presidents in the system. With the exception of UVA Wise, the bottom 7 on the list all fit this description. The differences appear in both the state established salaries and the private funds used to supplement the state paid compensation.

    The differences are not explained entirely by size,complexity or age of the institution led nor by the duration of service of the incumbent(except in the case of the interim president at Norfolk State). In fact, one of those on the lower paid list is William Anderson who is probably the longest serving presdident in the system.

    The same pattern does not hold true in the private college sector where the top 5 earners include two presidents of women’s colleges and one president of a historically black university.


  2. Virginia Centrist Avatar
    Virginia Centrist

    Casteen gets a French chef. I’m not sure whether he pays for him or not…

  3. El Moderado Avatar
    El Moderado

    Absent from the list is the pay of presidents at community colleges. Any idea what these folks make?

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Claire, I’m not sure what you’re driving at, but you seem to imply the existence of some kind of racism and/or sexism in the public university system. You note that the differences in compensation are not explained entirely by the size, complexity or age of the institutions, or the length of tenure of the president. Of course not. The differences in compensation are explained by the level of private support at the institutions — endowments, alumni contributions, etc. The distinguishing characteristics of institutions that pay their presidents more is that they are richer.

  5. Terry M. Avatar

    Jim, I think Claire is pointing to the difference in funding by the state, not total packages.

    As a matter of state law, the general assembly is prohibited from considering money from private sources (including institutional endowments) in making budget decisions for the institutions – and that includes presidential salaries.

    If you look, you will see she’s right – there appears to be neither rhyme nor reason to the differentials in general fund support of executive compensation.

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Worth every penny? Give me a damn break. These guys work no harder than other professionals. And what exactly do they do in the summer? Every time I turn around they have their hands out for mo” money from the General Assembly. Meanwhile college tuition keeps going through the roof.

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