Boondoggles

Million-Dollar Paydays for Public College Presidents

Nice gig

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Public higher education's million-dollar club just got bigger. Four public-college presidents earned more than $1-million in 2011-12, up from three a year earlier, a Chronicle analysis has found. The median total compensation for public-college leaders rose to $441,392, an increase of 4.7 percent from 2010-11.

The top earner was Graham B. Spanier, who received $2.9-million. Mr. Spanier, who was fired in 2011 in connection with a child-sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach, received most of his money in severance pay and deferred compensation, which is money he earned during his 16-year presidency that was not previously paid out.

The Chronicle's analysis included 212 college leaders at 191 public institutions.

The first public-college president to cross the million-dollar threshold in The Chronicle's annual survey was E. Gordon Gee, who, in 2007-8, earned $1.3-million at Ohio State University. He received $1.9-million in 2011-12, making him the third-highest-paid public-college president in the nation.