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The Ivy Presidents’ Sweepstakes

Each year the Chronicle of Higher Education reviews presidents’ salaries at institutions of higher learning. Regrettably the Chronicle does so belatedly, only when each school produces its IRS Form 990. Here’s how things looked for 2010 for Jim Kim. Note that in that year he had the least time in office of any Ivy president, the slightest experience in the academy, and he ran the smallest school in the Ivies:

CHE Salaries Ivies Comp1.jpg

The Kim Flam man earned more money that the experienced presidents of Harvard, Brown, Cornell and Princeton. How does that make any sense?

The Chronicle’s review for 2011 has a new wrinkle. The editors relate compensation to the size of each institution’s budget — a barometer that studies show has held true for many decades in direct proportion in the corporate world:

CHE Ivy Presdients 2013A.jpg

Ooops. Not in the Ivies. The smallest budget, Brown’s (even though Brown decidedly does not have the Ivy League’s smallest student body), supports the proportionately highest presidential salary: $1,950 of salary for each million dollars of budget. Jim Kim came in at #2 in the least-bang-for-the-buck sweepstakes: $1,190 of salary for each million dollars of budget.

Just what were the Trustees thinking? Were they thinking? In relative terms, Jim Kim was making 5.2 times the compensation of Harvard’s president. In absolute terms he made 6.6% more.

Addendum: See the salaries of the most richly compensated college presidents here.

Addendum: According to The Ann Arbor News, “Philip Hanlon was paid a base salary of $509,292 in his final year as provost” and “University President Mary Sue Coleman earns a base pay of $603,357, but this year she was given a $100,000 bonus in lieu of a raise.”


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