Spanier tops list of highest-paid university leaders
The severance package former Penn State University President Graham Spanier received when he lost his job because of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal made him the highest-paid of 212 public research university presidents in 2011-12.
Spanier, who made $2.9 million and is awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges that he covered up allegations against Sandusky, declined to comment on the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual salary survey released on Sunday.
He has consistently maintained his innocence in the criminal case.
Only three other public university presidents had compensation packages that exceeded $1 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year: Jay Gogue at Auburn University at $2.54 million; E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University at $1.89 million; and Alan G. Merten at George Mason University, $1.86 million.
Penn State previously reported the university owed Spanier $2.47 million in severance pay, and the majority of it would not be paid out until 2017, but people familiar with his case said the numbers reported to the Chronicle of Higher Education included parts of that income that were taxable and reportable earlier.
A Penn State spokeswoman said the Chronicle's decision to use a figure for Spanier that includes his severance creates an inaccurate picture.
“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.
Spanier was third in last year's survey, which pegged his total compensation for 2010-11 at $1,068,763.
The Chronicle survey includes identifies the bulk of Spanier's compensation as severance and deferred compensation. It used the university's figures about Spanier's compensation for the 2011 calendar year because Penn State declined to provide the figure for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Powers said Penn State wanted to avoid confusion with numbers it will publish this month when it files calendar year compensation figures for the school's top earners to comply with the Pennsylvania Right to Know law.
The university's figures for the 2011-12 fiscal year put current President Rodney Erickson 65th on the list with $549,364 in compensation.
University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg was 41st on the list at $628,880.
John C. Cavanaugh, former chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, ranked 159th in the survey at $351,427; former Indiana University of Pennsylvania President David J. Werner was 191st at $276,279.
The survey pegged median total compensation for presidents in the new survey at $441,392, up 4.7 percent from the prior year.
Gee, who topped the 2010-11 earnings list and became the first public college president in the million-dollar club in 2007-08, had the highest base salary last year: $830,439. That was more than double the median base salary, which inched up 2 percent to $373,800.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. she can be reached at 412-320-7996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates set wild-card game roster
- Former employee at Plum home-building firm charged with embezzling nearly $200K
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- House begins consideration of governor’s tax plan
- WPIAL hands out suspensions for Wilkinsburg-Monessen fight
- Rossi: Time for Pirates to take next step
- Cubs’ Arrieta, Pirates’ Cole leave batters with little margin for error
- Fleury’s demeanor helps keep Penguins loose, him playing his best
- New Florence assistant fire chief charged with having sex with juvenile
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not worried about Jones’ lack of sacks
- 3 arrested in connection with slaying of teenager in Knoxville