College is about education. Wrong! College is a busine$$. And for some college presidents, business is very, very good.
Today, the Chronicle of Higher Education released its rankings of the pay of presidents at America's private colleges and universities. It's easy to scan the list just by total dollar value of compensation: by that standard, Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago ($3.36 million) and Joseph Aoun of Northeastern University ($3.12 million) are the two highest-paid private college presidents in the country.
Perhaps a fairer way to look at pay, though, is to compare the salaries of the presidents to the total budget of the school— most people would expect pay to rise with the size and complexity of the university. (The Chronicle helpfully provides this information!). By this more rational standard, here are the college presidents whose pay is highest relative to the budgets of their schools (listed as president's salary per $1M of total expenditures by the school):
Esther Barazzone, Chatham University: $37,545 per $1M
James Douthat, Lycoming College: $29K per $1M
Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, Wilson College: $22,271 per $1M
Ronald Volpe, Hood College: $21,664 per $1M
Debra M. Townsley, William Peace University: $21,137 per $1M
For the sake of comparison, the two highest paid college presidents of all, Zimmer and Aoun, have salaries per $1M of total budget of $1,113 and $4,150, respectively.
Of course, no price is too high to pay for the leadership of Chatham University, the 48th best Regional University (North region) in America.