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G-Span Top-Paid College President in 2011-2012

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was the highest paid public college president in 2011-2012 according to a study by the Chronicle of Higher Education, that is, if you include his severance package and deferred compensation.

Our old friend, G-Span, who is currently facing criminal charges of perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected child abuse and conspiracy, raked in $2.9 million during the 2011-2012 cycle according to the Chronicle, making him one of only four public university presidents to eclipse a 7-figure salary.

Of that $2.9 million, Spanier took in $1.2 million in severance for his termination on November 9, 2011, and another $1.2 million in deferred compensation. Universities often use deferred compensations plans for presidents, which they receive after staying on the job for a certain number of years, because it incentivizes retainment and longevity. Spanier’s 16 years at Penn State’s helm led to that hefty deferred compensation plan.

Jay Gogue, of Auburn University, was second at $2.5 million, followed by Ohio State’s bow tie-wearing E. Gordon Gee at $1.9 million. Current Penn State President Rodney Erickson made $549,364 in 2011-2012 after stepping in for Spanier, good for 65th.

“If the Chronicle wishes to show a true comparison of the salaries of presidents in higher education, it should be done in a more accurate way based on the same criteria for all presidents,” said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers to the Pittsburgh-Tribune Reviewspeaking on Spanier’s hefty severance package, which Penn State will pay out in installments until 2017.

All in all, not bad for a sabbatical.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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