Ball State president among nation's highest paid

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Ball State University’s Jo Ann Gora was the fifth-highest-paid public college president in the United States during the 2011-12 academic year, according to a new survey released Monday by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Gora, who took the top post at Ball State in 2004, is the only college president from Indiana to make the list’s top 10.

Gora collected $500,000 in deferred pay on top of $431,000 in base pay, launching her into the top five earners, with a total of $985,000.

She was one of two women in the top 10, ranking just above Mary Sue Coleman of the University of Michigan, who earned $919,000. Coleman was the lone woman in last year's top 10.

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier became the highest paid public college president of 2011-12 when he was forced out over his handling of the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, according to a survey released Sunday.

Elsewhere in Indiana, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie placed 32nd on the list, with $653,258 in compensation; former Purdue University President France Cordova placed 64th, at $550,250; and IUPUI chief Charles Bantz placed 161st, at $348,423. Indiana State University's Daniel Bradley ranked 168th, at $334,425.

The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual ranking said Spanier's $2.9 million pay, which included $1.2 million in severance and $1.2 million in deferred compensation, put him well ahead of his peers when he left Penn State in November 2011.

Spanier, who led the college for 16 years, is awaiting trial on criminal charges of perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected child abuse and conspiracy stemming from administrators' handling of sex abuse allegations against Sandusky. Spanier has vigorously denied the charges.

Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Former Florida A&M University President James Ammons also saw his place on the earning list rise amid scandal. He ranked 11th at $781,000 after collecting $422,000 in severance and bonuses when he resigned in the wake of the hazing death of a marching band member.

While the median compensation for public college presidents was $441,392, a 4.7-percent increase over 2010-11, Spanier was one of four chief executives to surpass the $1 million threshold in 2011-12, one more than the previous year.

The others were Auburn University President Jay Gogue, who received $2.5 million; E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, who earned $1.9 million; and now-retired George Mason University's Alan Merten, whose total pay plus benefits and deferred compensation totaled $1.87 million.

Deferred compensation plans, meant as retention incentives, give executives a lump sum after a specified number of years on the job.
Ammons, who is black, was the highest earning minority among the college presidents.

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.

A separate analysis of the pay of private college presidents released by the Chronicle in December found 36 leaders received $1 million or more in 2010. The numbers are older because of lag time in the release of the federal tax information on which they are based.

The public college data is based on a survey of institutions. It analyzed compensation of 212 presidents at 191 public research institutions. The leaders outnumbered institutions because the survey included those whose tenures began or ended during the fiscal year.

Top 10 recipients, in total compensation, 2011-12:
— 1. Graham Spanier (former), Pennsylvania State University, $2,906,271
— 2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University, $2,542,865
— 3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University, $1,899,420
— 4. Alan Merten (former), George Mason University, $1,869,369
— 5. Jo Ann Gora, Ball State University, $984,647
— 6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan, $918,783
— 7. Charles Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749
— 8. Mark Yudof, University of California, $847,149
— 9. Bernard Machen, University of Florida, $834,562
— 10. Francisco Cigarroa, University of Texas, $815,833



  • base pay is reasonable
    Agree that it is important to know what the deferred comp is due to: some sort of stay bonus, goal achievement, etc? It is great that she has done great things. Is the deferred comp just a one shot deal or does it show up every few years?
  • Job Well Done
    As a BSU graduate, I was skeptical when they first brought her in. I am now proud of the changes she has made, and the increased visibility that she has brought to the university. In addition to new programs, the university is out front with projects such as the geothermal heating & cooling system. I think that she has earned her pay.
  • She Rocks!
    If you haven't been to campus lately, you are missing something. Dr. Gora has made significant contributions to BSU. As a graduate, I am proud of the changes and the improvement to the reputation of the school she has made possible.
  • Something seems wrong here...
    Where to begin with this one? First, it would be nice if some of this "deferred compensation" was based on graduation rates or something equivalent to show they are actually doing their job. Secondly, how is Jo Ann's salary justified given that BSU is not even in the same league on almost any level compared to the other top 10 schools? If anybody with ties to BSU cares, I would hope you are outraged and start asking questions. This is an absolute joke!
  • deferred payment?
    Can you give more details on what exactly is included in the deferred payment?

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