Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Chancellor’s salary higher than Harvard, Duke

Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton makes more than $600,000 per year, earning more than the presidents of Duke and Harvard Universities, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service obtained by Student Life.

Nennerl O. Keohane, the president of Duke University, made almost $500,000 including contributions to employee benefit plans in 2002, the last year for which data was available. Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard University, also makes close to $500,000.

All non-profit organizations must file an IRS 990 form, which contains information on the organizations’ finances and salaries. An examination of Washington University’s 990 form reveals that high-ranking administrators earn salaries significantly higher than the national average for comparable positions. But when the salaries are compared to similar positions at “peer institutions,” the wage gap narrows.

The average salary for a general council position at a four-year private university offering doctoral degrees was $141,251 in 2002, according to statistics compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The average chief executive at a university offering doctoral degrees made $250,358, less than half of what Wrighton rakes in.

“Averages are skewed. At schools like Wash. U., Emory, and MIT, these schools are more complicated and there is more research going on,” said Anne Prenatt, the vice chancellor of human resources.

She added that doctoral institutions, like Northwestern and the University of Miami, are not as research-driven as a school like Washington University. Salary comparisons between the two types of institutions may be misleading, said Prenatt.

Many factors determine how much money administrators will make. “Whether a school is private or non-private, size, to some degree location, complexity, universities with medical centers, state-run, and geography all play a role,” said Prenatt. She added that “schools on the east and west coasts have administrators who receive higher incomes.”

The scope of research at a school also “determines how much research money is rewarded to an institution,” said Kim Grobak, the University’s director of compensation. Comparing how much administrators receive at schools like Washington University to the average amounts that administrators receive at doctoral universities “would be like comparing tuition here with the tuition at UMSL,” said Prenatt.

Among other higher-ranking officials at the University, Michael Cannon, the executive vice chancellor and general counsel, makes over $300,000, including benefits. Anne Taylor, the vice president and general council at Harvard University, made about the same amount, and Beth Harris at the University of Chicago and Richard Zansitis at Rice University both made around $250,000 for the same position of general counsel.

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