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Trustees Grossly Overpaid Jim Kim Versus Other Ivy League Presidents

The only thing more embarrassing in business than being out-negotiated, is being out-negotiated by a doctor. How did Jim Kim merit, in just his first year as Dartmouth’s President, being paid more money than the presidents of Princeton, Harvard, Brown and Cornell — all of which are far larger schools than Dartmouth, and whose presidents had respectively been on the job for nine, three, nine and four years? Don’t forget that JYK was hardly a seasoned administrator with a long career in undergraduate education; he was just the opposite.

We’re not talkin’ chump change here neither. In 2010, Cornell (which has three and a half times as many students as Dartmouth) paid President David Skorton $230,803 less than Jim Kim. That’s enough money for the College to have hired a senior professor of the highest quality, or perhaps two up-and-coming junior profs.

Our Board is manifestly incompetent. Everywhere you look, they make bad decisions. In the case of Kim, they offered him a fat salary virtually at the same moment that the Dow Jones hit its nadir in the financial crisis (it dipped below 7,000 in early 2009; it is over 13,000 today) and when the value of the endowment was plummeting. All this money to a guy who had not the slightest experience in finance.

CHE Salaries Ivies Comp1.jpg

Perhaps for the Board’s billionaires, of whom there are several, a few hundred thousand dollars here and there amounts to a rounding error. They should adjust their perspective. The extra professors that could be hired, if the College were well managed, could profoundly influence the lives of students, and improve Dartmouth for everyone.

Addendum: What kind of salary will the Trustees offer President Hanlon? Will they ‘fess up to overpaying Kim and offer Hanlon a salary in line with the measure of his job — or will vain pride cost the College and its students a professor or two?

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