Ex-Penn State University president paid $2.9 million despite criminal charges

Lauren Williams's picture

The release Sunday of a survey naming former Penn State University President Graham Spanier the highest-paid public college president for 2011-12 was not a shock. In fact, it wasn’t new information. That fact had been reported in previous years as well.

What came as a shock was the reminder that Spanier, fired over his handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, was paid more in severance than his peers earn for fair and honest management of colleges.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual ranking of public college presidents’ earnings said Spanier’s $2.9 million pay, which included $1.2 million in severance and $1.2 million in deferred compensation, put him well ahead of his peers when he left Penn State in November 2011.

Spanier, who led the college for 16 years, is awaiting trial on criminal charges of perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected child abuse and conspiracy stemming from administrators’ handling of sex abuse allegations against Sandusky, the university’s former assistant football coach.

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