Ousted Penn State President Tops The List Of Highest Paid College Presidents

Photo: John TecceScandal does a paycheck good.

Although he was ousted from office as Pennsylvania State University President, Graham Spanier still topped the list of highest paid college presidents. 

Spanier racked up $2.9 million in total compensation  for the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  

He was fired as president of Pennsylvania State University in November 2011 for allegedly mishandling a child-sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Looking a bit deeper into Spanier’s paycheck, we found he actually took a 46% pay cut to his base salary, which fell from $660,000 to $350,000. The bulk of his salary came from a $1.2 million severance package after his firing and more than $1.2 million Spanier cashed out of his retirement plan.

That’s not exactly the same thing as a $2.9 million paycheck.

Looking at base salaries alone, the highest paid president is actually Ohio State’s E. Gordon Gee, who took in more than $830,000. 

Still, the Chronicle report shows one trend for certain: It was a good year to be on top of the college totem pole. The median total compensation for public university presidents, which includes bonuses and retirement compensation, jumped 4.7% to more than $441,000 between 2011 and 2012. The median base salary increased 2%. 

Here’s the full roster of the top 10 highest paid public university presidents: 

1. Graham B. Spanier*, Pennsylvania State University at University Park (Pennsylvania), $2,906,271

2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University (Alabama), $2,542,865

3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University-Main Campus (Ohio), $1,899,420

4. Alan G. Merten*, George Mason University (Virginia), $1,869,369

5. Jo Ann M. Gora, Ball State University (Indiana), $984,647

6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan system (Michigan), $918,783

7. Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech (Virginia), $857,749

8. Mark G. Yudof, University of California system (California), $847,149

9. Bernard J. Machen, University of Florida (Florida), $834,562

10. Francisco G. Cigarroa, University of Texas system (Texas), $815,833

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.