BUFFALO, N.Y. - Former Penn State President Graham Spanier became the highest-paid public college president of 2011-12 when he was forced out over his handling of the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to a survey released Sunday.
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. Spanier has vigorously denied the charges.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Former Florida A&M University President James Ammons also saw his place on the earning list rise amid scandal. He ranked 11th at $781,000 after collecting $422,000 in severance and bonuses when he resigned in the wake of the hazing death of a marching band member.
While the median compensation for public college presidents was $441,392, a 4.7 percent increase over 2010-11, Spanier was one of four chief executives to surpass the $1 million threshold in 2011-12, one more than the previous year. The others were Auburn University President Jay Gogue, who received $2.5 million; E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, who earned $1.9 million; and now-retired George Mason University's Alan Merten, whose total pay plus benefits and deferred compensation totaled $1.87 million.
Deferred compensation plans, meant as retention incentives, give executives a lump sum after a specified number of years on the job.
Top 10 earners
Top 10 recipients, in total compensation, among public college leaders in 2011-12.
1. Graham Spanier (x), Pennsylvania State University, $2,906,271
2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University, $2,542,865
3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University, $1,899,420
4. Alan Merten (x), George Mason University, $1,869,369
5. Jo Ann Gora, Ball State University, $984,647
6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan, $918,783
7. Charles Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749
8. Mark Yudof, University of California, $847,149
9. Bernard Machen, University of Florida, $834,562
10. Francisco Cigarroa, University of Texas, $815,833
(x) No longer president.
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Associated Press
Ua leader's earnings
New University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart makes $620,000, according to Star archives. She received $688,073 in total compensation from Temple University in 2012, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, which listed her salary at Temple as the 21st-highest in the U.S.