CAPITAL REGION Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson remains among the highest-paid college president in the region and got more than a half-million dollar bump in her pay in the most recent publicly available tax returns.
Jackson, who has been with RPI since 1999, received a salary of about $2.34 million in 2010 including $1.77 million in base salary and $674,000 in other compensation, according to the most recent tax return available at the website GuideStar.org.
The previous year, she earned $1.2 million in base salary and $580,000 in other compensation.
COLLEGE PRESIDENTS COMPENSATION
The first number is the 2010 compensation, according to the 2011 tax return. The second number is the 2009 compensation, according to the 2010 tax return.
Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: $2,340,441; 1,771,877
R. Mark Sullivan (former), College of Saint Rose: $1,009,068; $324,615
Stephen C. Ainlay, Union College: $469,325; $471,538
Philip A. Glotzbach, Skidmore College: $461,063; $468,056;
Susan C. Scrimshaw, Sage Colleges: $365,518; $311,148
George M. Philip (former), University at Albany: $280,000; $280,000
Jackson has repeatedly made the list of the highest-salaried presidents nationwide. In 2011, she ranked seventh on the list of highest-paid private college presidents surveyed by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Jackson is also the highest-paid college president in New York state.
Before coming to RPI, Jackson was head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from 1995 to 1999.
Former College of Saint Rose President R. Mark Sullivan received a 210 percent increase in total compensation in 2011, attributable to the vesting of a retirement plan.
Sullivan earned just more than $1 million in 2010, according to the 2011 tax return available at the GuideStar.org website. This is an increase from his $324,615 in compensation the previous year.
Sullivan, who had been with the college since August 1996, took an extended leave of absence during the 2010-2011 academic year after having a stroke. He retired at the end of the 2011-2012 year and has been replaced by David Szczerbacki, formerly the vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Daniel P. Nolan, chairman of The College of Saint Rose Board of Trustees, said the college in 2005 created a retirement plan for Sullivan and made annual contributions at the end of each year of his employment. The plan vested in 2010 at the end of the five-year period.
“At the time of vesting, a taxable event was created and the value of the plan was reported for tax purposes in a single tax year as income,” Nolan said.
Union College President Stephen J. Ainlay received $469,325 in compensation in the 2010-2011 year, which is a slight dip from $471,538 the year before.
This includes a base salary of $346,455, bonus and incentive compensation of $25,000, other reportable compensation of $18,691, retirement and deferred compensation of $40,120 and $39,059 worth of nontaxable benefits.
Ainlay has been with the school since 2006 and last year received a five-year contract extension.
Skidmore College President Philip A. Glotzbach received $461,063 including a base salary of $361,391 and $99,672 in other compensation. This was a slight dip from his total compensation last year of $468,056.
Susan C. Scrimshaw, president of the Sage Colleges, received a base salary of $311,880 and $53,638 of other compensation in 2010. In 2009, she received a base salary of $311,148.
Among the public universities, George M. Philip, president of the University at Albany, made a salary of $280,000 in both 2009 and 2010. He is retiring and will be replaced in January by Robert J. Jones, who was previously vice president for academic administration in the University of Minnesota system. Jones will earn nearly a half-million dollars in compensation including $385,000 in salary and $110,000 from the campus’s allocation of research funds through the SUNY Research Foundation. In addition, Jones is receiving a $60,000 housing allowance and have access to campus vehicle.
The least-paid college president locally continues to be the Rev. Kevin J. Mullen of Siena College at $0. As a member of the Franciscan order, he takes a vow of poverty.
Tony Pals, a spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said salaries at private colleges reflect supply and demand and make up a very small percentage of campus budgets. “Searches for these positions at a significant number of independent institutions are highly competitive, and colleges must offer compensation packages that attract qualified leaders,” he said in an email.
Pals also noted that there is a small pool of candidates because of the 24-7 nature of the job and the fact that the person must have a variety of skills — fundraising expertise, political savvy, solid management experience, a strong business sense, the ability to develop and deliver an educational vision for the institution, negotiating and mediating skills and the ability to represent the college effectively.
Also, private colleges face budgetary challenges and an uncertain fiscal climates. Pals said this may turn off some people to pursuing the top job at a college or university. He pointed to a study by the Council of Independent Colleges that found that fewer than one in four chief academic officers at private colleges plan to pursue a presidency.