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Does Graham Spanier Make Too Much $$$?

A question that always leads to some interesting debates.

Do executive officers of organizations deserve the amount of money that they receive every year?

On Wednesday, the Collegian reported that Penn State President Graham Spanier was ranked 6th nationally among public university presidents in terms of annual base salary for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. In total pay compensation Spanier ranks 18th among the same group.

My question to the Onward State community is whether his $590,000 salary is too much?

According to the University’s annual Right to Know report for 2007-2008, Spanier’s total compensation doesn’t even crack the top 5 at Penn State.

Those honors go to, in decreasing order, Joe Paterno (Head Football Coach – $1,037,322), Robert Harbaugh (Chair of the Neurosurgery Dept at the Hershey Medical Center – $789,492), Alan Brechbill (Executive Director of the Hershey Medical Center – $666,448), Ed DeChellis (Head Basketball Coach – $642,366), and Peter Dillon (Chair of the Department of Surgery at the Hershey Medical Center).

It is important to note that the Right to Know report lists both Spanier’s total compensation and salary as the same, while many other employees at the top of the pay scale have compensation in the form of bonuses and expenses in addition to the outright salary. This same statistic holds true when comparing Spanier’s salary to that of other university presidents, University spokesperson Annemarie Mountz attributes that to the fact that Spanier “does not receive many of the benefits included in extra incentive packages offered at other universities,” such as housing allowances or car allowances. Spanier lives in a University-owned house (built using private funds) and drives a car owned by the University.

Spanier isn’t being paid too much– he runs one of the largest universities in the country, which also happens to consistently rank among the best in academics, athletics, and sheer popularity. He was awarded the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence by TIAA-CREF for his commitment and contributions to higher education and society in February. He recently declined a raise opportunity citing that he didn’t believe it was fair to accept a raise when there was a salary freeze on faculty positions. He’s been a positive force for this university for 15 years and has guided us through some difficult financial times while still managing to expand the school’s reach into new areas of research and learning opportunities.

What do you think? Go ahead, tell me why I’m wrong.

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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