University Beat
5:17 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

UF's Machen 9th, USF's Genshaft 22nd on List of Highest Paid University Presidents

The Chronicle of Higher Education has compiled its list of the highest paid public university presidents for fiscal 2011-12, and the University of Florida's Bernie Machen is again the top earner in Florida.

The head Gator placed 9th among the 214 public university presidents ranked, with a total compensation package of $834,562. About 62 percent of that came from his base salary, the rest from a combination of bonuses, allowances and other compensation.

USF System President Judy Genshaft came in 22nd with a total compensation package of $685,429. Almost 70 percent of that total was in base pay ($470,000).

Genshaft is right behind Michael Rao of Virginia Commonwealth ($685,804), who got his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at USF.

She also trails Renu Khator of the University of Houston, who ranked 16th ($722,000). Khator worked at USF from 1985 to 2007, eventually reaching the position of Provost and Senior Vice President. Khator left USF to assume the dual position of president of the University of Houston and chancellor of the U of H System.

Florida A&M's former president James Ammons was ranked 11th ($781,024). He resigned in July 2012 amid a scandal surrounding the hazing death of a drum major in the famed FAMU Marching 100 band.

University of Central Florida's John Hitt was ranked 16th ($723,830), while Eric Barron of Florida State University was ranked 52nd ($588,146).

(Ronald Vaughn of the University of Tampa ranked 47th on the list of highest paid private college presidents at $896,701. However, that list was compiled using data from 2010.)

Graham Spanier of Penn State University topped the list of public university presidents at $2.9 million in total compensation. That figure is slightly misleading, as it includes a $1.2 million severance package and more than $1.2 million he cashed out of his retirement plan. Spanier was fired in November 2011 for allegedly mishandling the  child sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, had the highest base salary at $830,000 a year. He's third in total compensation at almost $1.9 million, trailing Spanier and Jay Gogue of Auburn University.

The full list of public university presidents can be found here.