HYDE PARK — University presidents are no longer the top paid employees at many of the major universities in Chicago, despite being some of the best compensated higher education leaders in the country.
Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer were listed as the No. 6 and No. 8 top compensated university presidents respectively in the country in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey of salaries released Sunday.
With a total compensation package of $2.3 million for Schapiro and $2 million for Zimmer, both university leaders were near the top of the list, which collects salary information from the 2014 fiscal year from tax filings.
Jeremy Manier, a spokesman for U. of C., said Zimmer’s pay is comparable to presidents at other universities.
“The university board of trustees reviews presidential compensation annually and compares it to similar roles at peer institutions,” Manier said in an emailed statement. “President Zimmer’s compensation is consistent with leaders of institutions of similar scale and caliber."
Zimmer was paid $1.9 million in the prior year, including $562,400 in deferred compensation.
"The difference in compensation this year is largely due to deferred compensation that was earned and reported in previous years," Manier said.
A spokesman for Northwestern declined to comment.
But neither Zimmer or Schapiro topped the compensation lists for their own institutions, a trend that has spread to many of the universities and colleges in the city now.
Schapiro was the third best-paid employee at Northwestern, at almost $1 million behind Patrick Fitzgerald, the head football coach for the school who was paid more than $3.3 million, according to the report. The salary for Chief Investment Officer William McLean was also nearly $1 million more than Schapiro’s at $3.2 million, much of that coming in incentive and bonus pay.
University of Chicago Chief Investment Officer Mark Schmid also brought home more than the president, with a total compensation of more than $2 million, edging out Zimmer’s pay by nearly $3,000. Kenneth Polonsky, the executive vice president for medical affairs, and Valluvan Jeevanandam, chief of cardiac and thoracic surgery, also had a higher base salary than Zimmer, though do not get the bonus pay the president receives.
Northwestern and U. of C. occupy a rarified spot in the city, but even at institutions that don’t count their endowments in billions, the president isn’t always the most valuable employee if judged by compensation.
The Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, DePaul University’s president, made $861,393, a fraction of what head basketball coach Oliver Purnell made at $2.3 million or former College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Charles Suchar made at $1 million.
Carol Hughes, a spokeswoman for DePaul, said Holtschneider's salary is donated to the Congregation of the Mission and the religious order provides for his living expenses.
She said the university does not release information on how Holtschneider was provided for financially by the religious order.
Hughes said Suchar's pay was temporarily inflated by his participation in an early retirement program at the university and the base salary of $331,620 listed in the university's tax filings was more a more accurate accounting of how he was generally compensated as dean.
Holtschneider has said he will resign after the 2016-17 academic year and Purnell has since been replaced by Dave Leitao as head basketball coach.
Even at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chancellor Michael Amaridis and interim Chancellor Eric Gislason made less than Joe Garcia, the senior vice president for health sciences and Dimitri Azar, the dean of the College of Medicine. A full year of salary information was not available for either chancellor, but estimates are that Amaridis made $350,000 a year and Garcia made $250,000 a year, considerably less than Garcia’s $866,667 salary or Azar’s $750,146 salary, according to tax filings.
Columbia College, the School of the Art Institute and the Illinois Institute of Technology, none of which have a medical school, an endowment comparable to U. of C. or Northwestern or a major sports team, all paid their presidents better than any other employee.
John Anderson, former IIT president, topped that group with a total compensation package of $897,856. Kwang-Wu Kim of Columbia received $539,010 in total compensation and Walter Massey of the School of the Art Institute received $589,628 in total compensation.
The Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, who lead Loyola University of Chicago for 14 years as chancellor until his resignation in June 2015, is an outlier.
It’s unclear how much Garanzini was paid in his role as chancellor because his pay of $659,260 was donated to the Society of Jesus, the founder of the university, because of Garanzini’s vow of poverty, according to tax filings.
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