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50 highest-paid public college presidents

  • 50 highest-paid public college presidents
    1/ InSapphoWeTrust // Flickr

    50 highest-paid public college presidents

    It’s no secret that many university presidents make a pretty penny for their work overseeing daily operations at some of the nation’s top schools. Some liken college presidents to chief executive officers of major corporations, where salaries, job descriptions, and especially bonuses and perks vary greatly—and income swings reach into the millions of dollars.

    To find out which university presidents earn the greatest compensation for their work at the top, Stacker referenced data from The Chronicle of Higher Education to rank the 50 highest-paid public college presidents and chancellors as of the 2016-2017 academic year (the most recent data available). We've noted instances where these leaders have since left their respective institutions.

    Read on to discover which public schools host the highest-compensated chief executives in the nation.

    RELATED: 50 college majors that earn the most money

  • #50. Ronald M. Berkman
    2/ News 5 Cleveland // YouTube

    #50. Ronald M. Berkman

    College: Cleveland State University
    Total compensation: $641,817
    Base pay: $450,000
    Bonus pay: $112,500
    Other pay: $60,000

    Note: Berkman retired in 2018.

  • #49. Angel Cabrera
    3/ World Economic Forum // Wikicommons

    #49. Angel Cabrera

    College: George Mason University
    Total compensation: $645,017
    Base pay: $545,017
    Bonus pay: $81,312
    Other pay: $0

  • #48. Steven J. Rosenstone
    4/ Minnesota Senate Media Services // YouTube

    #48. Steven J. Rosenstone

    College: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system
    Total compensation: $650,994
    Base pay: $390,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $240,306

    Note: Rosenstone retired as MnSCU chancellor in 2017.

  • #47. Carine M. Feyten
    5/ Cejaktx // Wikicommons

    #47. Carine M. Feyten

    College: Texas Woman's University
    Total compensation: $658,860
    Base pay: $460,000
    Bonus pay: $30,000
    Other pay: $161,452

  • #46. Michael H. Schill
    6/ University of Oregon // YouTube

    #46. Michael H. Schill

    College: University of Oregon
    Total compensation: $675,520
    Base pay: $660,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #45. James B. Milliken
    7/ cunytv75 // YouTube

    #45. James B. Milliken

    College: City University of New York system
    Total compensation: $689,786
    Base pay: $670,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

    Note: Milliken left his role as CUNY chancellor in 2018 and is now chancellor of the University of Texas system.

  • #44. Michael Rao
    8/ Virginia Commonwealth University // YouTube

    #44. Michael Rao

    College: Virginia Commonwealth University
    Total compensation: $690,943
    Base pay: $523,281
    Bonus pay: $31,502
    Other pay: $136,160

  • #43. Harris Pastides
    9/ News 19 WLTX // YouTube

    #43. Harris Pastides

    College: University of South Carolina at Columbia
    Total compensation: $691,592
    Base pay: $591,592
    Bonus pay: $100,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #42. Anthony A. Frank
    10/ Colorado State University

    #42. Anthony A. Frank

    College: Colorado State University at Fort Collins
    Total compensation: $700,000
    Base pay: $600,000
    Bonus pay: $100,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #41. Timothy Killeen
    11/ Office for University Relations // University of Illinois system

    #41. Timothy Killeen

    College: University of Illinois system
    Total compensation: $712,246
    Base pay: $600,000
    Bonus pay: $100,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #40. Ana Mari Cauce
    12/ Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

    #40. Ana Mari Cauce

    College: University of Washington
    Total compensation: $712,498
    Base pay: $712,498
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #39. Robert L. Duncan
    13/ give2tech // YouTube

    #39. Robert L. Duncan

    College: Texas Tech University system
    Total compensation: $716,583
    Base pay: $509,750
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $202,880

    Note: Duncan retired from the Texas Tech University system in 2018.

  • #38. Joel S. Bloom
    14/ Steve Adubato // YouTube

    #38. Joel S. Bloom

    College: New Jersey Institute of Technology
    Total compensation: $721,071
    Base pay: $571,650
    Bonus pay: $138,750
    Other pay: $0

  • #37. Satish K. Tripathi
    15/ University at Buffalo

    #37. Satish K. Tripathi

    College: University at Buffalo
    Total compensation: $723,470
    Base pay: $723,470
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #36. G.P. (Bud) Peterson
    16/ Georgia Institute of Technology // Flickr

    #36. G.P. (Bud) Peterson

    College: Georgia Institute of Technology
    Total compensation: $730,099
    Base pay: $671,402
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #35. Brian McCall
    17/ The Texas Tribune // YouTube

    #35. Brian McCall

    College: Texas State University system
    Total compensation: $746,000
    Base pay: $546,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $200,000

  • #34. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.
    18/ Stony Brook University // YouTube

    #34. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.

    College: Stony Brook University
    Total compensation: $747,001
    Base pay: $449,453
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $280,000

  • #33. Lee F. Jackson
    19/ Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. Lee F. Jackson

    College: University of North Texas system
    Total compensation: $750,838
    Base pay: $608,100
    Bonus pay: $121,620
    Other pay: $5,408

    Note: Jackson retired in 2017.

  • #32. Beverly J. Warren
    20/ KentStateTV // YouTube

    #32. Beverly J. Warren

    College: Kent State University
    Total compensation: $756,207
    Base pay: $468,180
    Bonus pay: $93,636
    Other pay: $175,930

  • #31. Cheslie Ray Hayes
    21/ Deutschlandreform // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Cheslie Ray Hayes

    College: University of Alabama system
    Total compensation: $758,125
    Base pay: $653,125
    Bonus pay: $105,000
    Other pay: $0

    Note: Hayes retired in 2018.

  • #30. Bernadette Gray-Little
    22/ University of Kansas // YouTube

    #30. Bernadette Gray-Little

    College: University of Kansas
    Total compensation: $759,508
    Base pay: $531,008
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $218,000

  • #29. Gregory L. Fenves
    23/ LBJ Library // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Gregory L. Fenves

    College: University of Texas at Austin
    Total compensation: $762,220
    Base pay: $750,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $1,280

  • #28. Stuart R. Bell
    24/ Adam Jones // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. Stuart R. Bell

    College: University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa
    Total compensation: $768,000
    Base pay: $663,000
    Bonus pay: $105,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #27. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.
    25/ Quinn Thompson // Wikimedia Commons

    #27. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.

    College: Purdue University at West Lafayette
    Total compensation: $770,520
    Base pay: $420,000
    Bonus pay: $349,500
    Other pay: $0

  • #26. Robert L. Caret
    26/ University of Massachussetts // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Robert L. Caret

    College: University System of Maryland
    Total compensation: $785,696
    Base pay: $630,000
    Bonus pay: $75,000
    Other pay: $53,000

  • #25. E. Gordon Gee
    27/ Richinstead // Wikimedia Commons

    #25. E. Gordon Gee

    College: West Virginia University
    Total compensation: $799,650
    Base pay: $796,938
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $2,712

  • #24. Mark S. Schlissel
    28/ University of Michigan // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. Mark S. Schlissel

    College: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
    Total compensation: $806,374
    Base pay: $791,812
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #23. James P. Clements
    29/ hager.angie // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. James P. Clements

    College: Clemson University
    Total compensation: $809,334
    Base pay: $795,629
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #22. Robert L. Barchi
    30/ Arif Patani // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Robert L. Barchi

    College: Rutgers University at New Brunswick
    Total compensation: $818,033
    Base pay: $702,081
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $114,402

  • #21. Susan Herbst
    31/ UConn // YouTube

    #21. Susan Herbst

    College: University of Connecticut
    Total compensation: $823,907
    Base pay: $627,716
    Bonus pay: $40,000
    Other pay: $133,000

  • #20. David W. Pershing
    32/ Mr.Granger //Wikimedia Commons

    #20. David W. Pershing

    College: University of Utah
    Total compensation: $824,941
    Base pay: $480,548
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $327,287

    Note: Pershing resigned in 2017.

  • #19. W. Randolph Woodson
    33/ Seth Ilys // Wikimedia Commons

    #19. W. Randolph Woodson

    College: North Carolina State University
    Total compensation: $826,136
    Base pay: $617,376
    Bonus pay: $203,086
    Other pay: $0

  • #18. Eli Capilouto
    34/ Tom Ipri // Flickr

    #18. Eli Capilouto

    College: University of Kentucky
    Total compensation: $827,632
    Base pay: $790,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #17. Lou Anna K. Simon
    35/ MiSpartan Impact // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Lou Anna K. Simon

    College: Michigan State University
    Total compensation: $857,024
    Base pay: $750,000
    Bonus pay: $100,000
    Other pay: $0

    Note: Simon resigned in 2018.

  • #16. Michael M. Crow
    36/ Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

    #16. Michael M. Crow

    College: Arizona State University
    Total compensation: $860,649
    Base pay: $795,024
    Bonus pay: $50,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #15. Raymond Watts
    37/ Chris Pruitt // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Raymond Watts

    College: University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Total compensation: $889,571
    Base pay: $485,297
    Bonus pay: $105,000
    Other pay: $299,274

  • #14. Renu Khator
    38/ Jon Shapley // Wikimedia Commons

    #14. Renu Khator

    College: University of Houston
    Total compensation: $913,351
    Base pay: $704,983
    Bonus pay: $200,000
    Other pay: $960

  • #13. Margaret Spellings
    39/ Flickr

    #13. Margaret Spellings

    College: University of North Carolina system
    Total compensation: $977,077
    Base pay: $775,000
    Bonus pay: $45,000
    Other pay: $122,500

    Note: Spellings resigned in 2018.

  • #12. Michael K. Young
    40/ Blueag9 // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Michael K. Young

    College: Texas A&M University at College Station
    Total compensation: $1,000,000
    Base pay: $1,000,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $0

  • #11. Eric J. Barron
    41/ George Chriss // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Eric J. Barron

    College: Pennsylvania State University at University Park
    Total compensation: $1,038,170
    Base pay: $818,000
    Bonus pay: $200,000
    Other pay: $0

  • #10. Michael V. Drake
    42/ City Club of Cleveland // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Michael V. Drake

    College: Ohio State University
    Total compensation: $1,073,272
    Base pay: $829,600
    Bonus pay: $204,000
    Other pay: $300

  • #9. W. Kent Fuchs
    43/ Spohpatuf // Wikimedia Commons

    #9. W. Kent Fuchs

    College: University of Florida
    Total compensation: $1,099,975
    Base pay: $866,425
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $215,408

  • #8. Douglas D. Baker
    44/ Alexbaumgamer // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Douglas D. Baker

    College: Northern Illinois University
    Total compensation: $1,124,248
    Base pay: $450,000
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $674,248

    Note: Baker resigned in 2017.

  • #7. Judy L. Genshaft
    45/ Simon Kellogg // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. Judy L. Genshaft

    College: University of South Florida
    Total compensation: $1,184,520
    Base pay: $493,500
    Bonus pay: $175,000
    Other pay: $500,000

  • #6. John C. Hitt
    46/ FLJuJitsu // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. John C. Hitt

    College: University of Central Florida
    Total compensation: $1,278,371
    Base pay: $505,730
    Bonus pay: $655,475
    Other pay: $101,146

    Note: Hitt resigned in 2018.

  • #5. John Sharp
    47/ Stu Seeger // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. John Sharp

    College: Texas A&M University system office
    Total compensation: $1,285,147
    Base pay: $900,000
    Bonus pay: $200,000
    Other pay: $174,598

  • #4. Neil D. Theobald
    48/ Dorevabellfiore // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Neil D. Theobald

    College: Temple University
    Total compensation: $1,380,071
    Base pay: $718,303
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $642,918

    Note: Theobald resigned at the start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

     

  • #3. William H. McRaven
    49/ LBJ Library // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. William H. McRaven

    College: University of Texas system
    Total compensation: $1,500,140
    Base pay: $1,200,000
    Bonus pay: $300,000
    Other pay: $140

    Note: McRaven stepped down as Chancellor in 2018.

  • #2. Jay Gogue
    50/ Tom Key // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. Jay Gogue

    College: Auburn University
    Total compensation: $1,827,786
    Base pay: $451,333
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $1,376,453

    Note: Gogue retired in 2017.

  • #1. James R. Ramsey
    51/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #1. James R. Ramsey

    College: University of Louisville
    Total compensation: $4,290,232
    Base pay: $55,703
    Bonus pay: $0
    Other pay: $4,233,739

    Note: Ramsey resigned 27 days into the 2017 fiscal year.

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