Coleman ranks fifth in salary among U.S. public university presidents

By Kyle Swanson, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 17, 2008

University President Mary Sue Coleman, who was the highest paid president of a U.S. public university when she arrived at the University of Michigan in 2002, ranked fifth among the highest-paid public university presidents in the country for the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to figures released Monday by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Coleman's compensation package for the year totaled $760,196. It consisted of a salary of $531,996, an annual $100,000 retention bonus, $75,000 in deferred compensation, $23,000 in retirement pay and $30,200 through a supplemental retirement plan.

The University also provided Coleman with a car and the use of the President's House at 815 South University Avenue.

In response to the rankings, University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the University officials are “proud that someone the caliber of President Coleman is leading the University.”

Coleman's salary is set by a vote of the University Board of Regents after an annual review process by the Personnel, Compensation and Governance Committee.

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, who earned about than $1.35 million in compensation during the fiscal year, was listed as the highest-paid public university president by The Chronicle. The presidents of the University of Washington, University of Virginia and the University of Texas also earned more than Coleman.

Of both public and private colleges and universities, Suffolk University’s David Sargent was the highest-paid university president, earning $2.8 million this year.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, Coleman received a 4 percent pay raise, which increased her base salary by about $21,000.

The raise was announced at the September meeting of the Board of Regents. At the meeting, Regent Andrew Richner (R-Grosse Point Park) said the raise reflected the Board of Regents’ “full and unqualified support” of Coleman as president.

"President Coleman's efforts, along with those of the strong leadership team she has assembled, have resulted in dramatically increased financial aid for our students, new endowed chairs, hiring of new faculty, more graduate fellowships, and new and renovated facilities," he said.

In addition to her official duties at the University, Coleman also serves on the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and Meredith Corporation.

In her position at Johnson & Johnson, Coleman receives $202,631 in compensation. About $95,000 of that is through cash, almost $100,000 comes in the form of stock options and the rest comes in the form of other compensation — which includes gifts to charity.

Meredith Corporation gives Coleman $144,067 for her services. $10,000 comes in cash, while $42,000 is given in stock options and $92,000 in option awards. According to Meredith Corporation's website, the board meets four times a year.

Before joining the University of Michigan, Coleman served as president at the University of Iowa of seven years.