Although she came into office in 2002 as the highest paid leader of any public university in the nation, University President Mary Sue Coleman has seen her rank among the highest-compensated public university presidents drop to sixth, according to a survey published yesterday by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

On top of her compensation of $743,151 from the University, Coleman also gets paid for her membership on both the Johnson & Johnson and Meredith Corporation boards. The Chronicle lists her minimum annual pay for membership on those boards as $331,226.

Her compensation from the University puts her behind the presidents of Purdue University, the University of Delaware, Ohio State University, the University of Virginia and the University of Washington. Purdue President Martin Jischke topped the list with an annual total compensation of $880,950 for the 2006-2007 school year.

Coleman ranked fourth on the list of highest paid leaders of public universities who were not leaving their respective universities. Both Jischke and Ohio State President Karen Holbrook ranked ahead of Coleman and are retiring this year.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the University was not taking a position on Coleman’s drop in the rankings.

“It is what it is,” she said.

Coleman’s contract guarantees her a base salary of just over $500,000. The Board of Regents can give Coleman a raise or a bonus every year.

Although Coleman’s total compensation has grown every year since she became president in 2002, the compensation of her peers at other institutions of higher education has grown at a higher rate.

Coleman’s raises have never been more than 3.5 percent annually, which is in line with the average pay increases for faculty and staff at the University.

The University Board of Regents gave Coleman a 3-percent raise at their September meeting. She then donated the $15,495 pay hike back to the University.

In 2004, Coleman ranked third in the Chronicle’s list with a total compensation of $677,500. In 2005, her compensation rose to $724,604, which ranked first among presidents of public universities.

About 60 of the 182 public universities in this year’s rankings gave their presidents bonuses, for both performance and, less commonly, retention.

Coleman gets a $100,000 retention bonus each year of her term.

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