Although many Americans believe their universities are places where administrators and faculty members coexist on a fairly equal basis, the reality is that this is far from the case.
According to recent surveys by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 35 private university presidents and four public university presidents topped $1 million in total earnings during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Among the public university presidents, Graham Spanier of Pennsylvania State University received $2.9 million for that year, followed by Jay Gogue of Auburn University ($2.5 million), E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University ($1.9 million), and Alan Merten of George Mason University ($1.9 million). Overall, the presidents of public universities — the poor relations of their private university counterparts — had a median annual total compensation of $441,392. This very substantial income does not include many additional perks.
According to the New York Times, President Gee is known for “the lavish lifestyle his job supports, including a rent-free mansion with an elevator, a pool and a tennis court and flights on private jets.”