Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

November 20, 2008

Nordenberg's compensation ranks 30th among public schools

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg joined 58 other chief executives of four-year public universities who earned more than $500,000 in total compensation for fiscal year 2008, up from 42 chief executives the previous year.

Nordenberg’s total compensation package last year was $590,200, including $460,000 in base salary, $55,200 in employer-contributed retirement pay and $75,000 in deferred compensation, ranking Pitt’s chancellor 30th nationally among the publics’ CEOs, according to a survey on executive compensation published Nov. 17 by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The survey covered 184 four-year public universities and systems, and included data on the compensation received by the chief executives at 599 private institutions.

The four-year public institutions covered for 2008 include 152 public universities with total enrollments of at least 10,000 that are classified as either research universities or doctoral/research universities by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, as well as the university systems associated with them.

The median compensation for the 184 leaders of four-year public institutions nationally in 2007-08 rose 7.6 percent to $427,400, up from $397,349 reported in last year’s survey, the Chronicle stated. Fifteen public institutions paid their CEOs more than $700,000, up from eight in last year’s report.

In general, the Chronicle used 2007-08 data obtained from the public universities. Among the publics, only the University of Delaware, as a quasi-private institution, is not required legally to provide current compensation information. Data for Delaware are a year older, drawn from its 2006-07 IRS Form 990 submission.

In previous years, the Chronicle’s survey of compensation for public-university chiefs examined projected levels during the fiscal year then in progress, but not complete. The Chronicle changed the methodology in 2007 to reflect actual amounts of compensation reported by the institutions.

Total-compensation figures in the survey include salary and benefits from institutional and private sources, annualized amounts of deferred compensation and the amount of bonuses for which chief executives qualified during the fiscal year.

Retirement pay is the amount contributed by the institution or state to a chief executive’s retirement plans during the fiscal year. (In some states, an employee’s choice between various retirement plans is considered private under open-records laws, so full retirement pay could not be determined in certain cases.)

Housing and car allowances are included in the survey report. The use of a university- or state-owned house or car, however, is not. Use of such a car or house, as well as benefits such as club dues and expense accounts, are listed as part of compensation, but no dollar amount for such benefits is added to total compensation, the Chronicle stated.

Nordenberg’s total compensation as published in the Chronicle survey ($590,200) covers fiscal year 2008, which ended June 30, 2008. The chancellor’s salary and other compensation for the current fiscal year have not been set yet by the trustees compensation committee, which typically does so in December.

According to the Chronicle’s 2007-08 survey, at other Pennsylvania four-year public institutions:

• Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, earned $611,367 in total compensation ($590,000 in base salary; $21,367 in retirement pay).

• Temple President Ann Weaver Hart earned $572,900 in total compensation ($492,900 in base salary; $30,000 in deferred compensation, and a $50,000 performance bonus).

• Judy G. Hample, former chancellor of Pennsylvania’s state system, earned $364,865 in total compensation ($326,713 in base salary; $30,352 in retirement pay, and $7,800 provided by the state for a car).

• Tony Atwater, president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, earned $269,094 in total compensation ($239,083 in base salary; $22,211 in retirement pay, and $7,800 provided by the state for a car).

According to the Chronicle survey, the top-paid leader of a public institution was E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University at $1,346,225.

A direct comparison of figures for public and private institutions in the survey is not possible, because survey data for private institutions in the Chronicle report are a year older than that for the public institutions. Private institutions are not required to provide compensation information to the Chronicle, so the survey uses IRS Form 990, a public document, to collect compensation information, and the most recent 990 forms cover 2006-07.

Other Pennsylvania higher education presidents earning more than $500,000 in annual compensation (2006-07 data) were CEOs of private institutions: Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania, $1,088,786; Constantine N. Papadakis, Drexel University, $1,021,537; Alice P. Gast, Lehigh University, $750,780; Esther L. Barazzone, Chatham University, $734,576; John R. Strassburger, Ursinus College, $715,504; Richard J. Cook, Allegheny College, $701,319; John A. Fry, Franklin and Marshall College, $660,866; Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon, $591,876; Charles J. Dougherty, Duquesne University, $537,104; Alfred H. Bloom, Swarthmore College, $529,370, and Brian C. Mitchell, Bucknell University, $500,411.

According to the Chronicle, the most compensated higher education CEOs nationally, based on 2006-07 data, were David J. Sargent of Suffolk University ($2,800,461); Henry S. Bienen of Northwestern ($1,742,560), and Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia ($1,411,894).

Overall, 89 presidents of private institutions made more than $500,000 in fiscal year 2007, about a 10 percent increase from the year before. The Chronicle noted, however, that while the median pay for public university CEOs rose 7.6 percent, the median pay for the 599 private institution CEOs fell 0.2 percent to $527,172.

The Chronicle report can be accessed online at then click the link “special issues and data.”

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 7

Leave a Reply