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Penn State's Barron Is Nation's Third Highest-Paid Public University Leader

by on July 16, 2019 5:45 PM

The Chronicle of Higher Education published on Sunday its 2018 executive compensation package report, which lists Penn State President Eric Barron as the third-highest paid public university leader in the nation.

The report indicates that Barron’s $1,834,364 compensation last year  trailed only former University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven, and Texas A&M President Michael K. Young. McRaven stepped down from his post in 2018 and his nearly $2.6 million in earnings included a $678,985 bonus and nearly $1.3 million in deferred pay. Young earned $1,893,740, which included $1 million base pay plus a bonus, deferred pay out and other special compensation

Barron's yearly sum included a base pay of $834,000 and $1 million in bonuses. His deal  also includes nontaxable and retirement benefits. The contract’s pay-to-tuition ratio, according to the report, is 99 to 1.

He is the best-paid Big Ten representative on the list — Ohio State President Michael V. Drake claimed the report’s ninth spot with total compensation of just over $1.2 million.

Barron arrived in Happy Valley in 2014 after serving four years as the president of Florida State University. Penn State’s Board of Trustees recently awarded him a three-year contract extension that will expire in June 2022.

His third-place standing in the Chronicle’s report is a significant jump from the 2016-17 survey, when he was ranked 11th with a total payment of of $1,038,170.

Penn State presidents are no strangers to the Chronicle’s compensation survey, which fluctuates depending on contract payouts, severance packages, bonuses, and other single payments.

According to the system’s records, former President Graham Spanier topped the list in the 2011-12 cycle due to the $2,473,205 severance deal awarded to him after his resignation in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Rodney A. Erickson was the highest-earning public college leader in the 2013-14 cycle, when he retired after three years at the helm of the university.

Jim Davidson is a Penn State student and Onward State contributor.
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