If you are out of job and looking to start a new prosperous career, look no further than becoming a college president. The benefits are good. You certainly won’t be scrounging around for health insurance. The perks are fabulous. And the pay is just an embarrassment of riches.
Former Ohio State University and current West Virginia University President, E. Gordon Gee, got paid $6,057,615 in 2013 by The Ohio State University. That made Gordon Gee the highest paid college president in the United States. Gee’s tenure at Ohio State was certainly not without controversy, though. He got in trouble for anti-Catholic comments. Regarding Notre Dame maybe, possibly joining the Big 10, Gee said, “I negotiated with them during my first term and the fathers are holy on Sunday and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or Friday.”
University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer, earned $1,113 for every million the university spent in 2011. His total salary that year was almost $3.4 million. The median pay of private universities that year was $410,523. In 2012 the average graduate of University of Chicago had $22,663 worth of debt. Still, the school paid Zimmer more than some CEOs of huge private companies make.
Chatham University is a small woman’s college with a little over 2,000 students, but President Esther L. Barazzone is changing that. The university is going to start accepting male students in 2015, due in part to financial woes. The university has a modest budget of $48.3 million, and has had trouble running on it. Why mention all this? Because, in 2011, Barazzone managed to be one of the highest paid college presidents in the nation. That year, she raked in all of $1.8 million. That means she made $37,545 for every million the university spent.
One of the highest paid public university presidents in 2013 headed the state university system in some highly populated state, right? Wrong! He was the president of the North Dakota University System. Hamid Shirvani was there for less than a year before getting “released” and receiving $1.3 million. Shirvani got bought out of the last two years of his contract, after his brief, unpopular tenure. During that time, the North Dakota Student Association Senate held a vote of no confidence for him. This wasn’t the first time a vote of no confidence occurred for Shirvani, either. When he was a college president at California State University-Stanislaus, a faculty vote showed 90 percent of the faculty members had no confidence in him. And even before that, in May of 1990, Shirvani resigned as the dean of the University of Colorado, Denver School of Architecture and Planning. During his tenure there, almost half of the program’s faculty left.