Virginia Tech’s Steger among top-paid public university leaders in the nation

Retiring Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger remains the highest-paid public university leader in the state in a new national survey that showed his total annual compensation topped $830,000.

Steger’s total pay of $836,886 ranked him 12th in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey of compensation for 256 leaders of public higher education institutions in fiscal 2013. In the previous year, he ranked seventh.

Steger is stepping down at the end of this month after 14 years as president of the research university in Blacksburg. He will be replaced by Timothy D. Sands, whose annual salary package was said by the university to be $700,000 at the time he was hired.

The Chronicle’s survey, published Sunday, said E. Gordon Gee was the top-paid university leader, making more than $6 million in his final year as president of Ohio State University. Gee is now president of West Virginia University. The Chronicle said Gee’s pay was the highest ever recorded in its public university survey.

University presidents often have large severance and deferred-compensation payouts in their final year in office. Their pay has been controversial in recent years as critics have wondered why presidents make so much in an era of budget pressure at universities and fast-rising tuition.

Virginia’s public university leaders earn far more than their counterparts in Maryland.

The highest-paid university leader in Maryland was William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, whose total pay was $499,800. That ranked him 86th nationally. Kirwan last week announced he is retiring.

Besides Steger, four Virginia leaders were paid more than Kirwan. They were Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao ($736,284, ranked 21st); University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan ($731,537, ranked 24th); George Mason University President Angel Cabrera ($559,085, ranked 70th); and Virginia Community College System President Glenn DuBois ($501,023, ranked 85th).

Others from Virginia listed in the survey were Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick ($499,118, ranked 87th) and College of William and Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III ($420,100, ranked 126th).

Others listed from Maryland were University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh ($492,277, ranked 89th), University of Maryland Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III ($491,277, ranked 90th) and Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim ($308,265, ranked 204th).

The interim president of the University of the District of Columbia, James E. Lyons Sr., was not included in the survey. His contract was recently extended through August 2015.

A former Post education editor, Nick writes about college from the perspective of a father of three who will soon be buried in tuition bills.
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