Two of the 10 highest-paid public university presidents in America work in the Washington region, according to the latest compensation survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Maryland system Chancellor Brit Kirwan made $716,744 in salary and benefits in 2009-10, and George Mason University President Alan Merten was paid $633,631.

Some readers may see those sums as excessive at a time of state university budget-cutting. Some may not. This much is clear: Kirwan and Merten are far from the highest-paid executives in higher education.

Here are some people who make more.

1. The presidents of George Washington, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and American universities. GWU President Steven Knapp received $985,353 in total compensation in 2008, according to the latest Chronicle survey of private university presidents. Georgetown President John DeGioia ranked second in the region, with $911,613 in compensation. Former Hopkins president William Brody ranked third, with $851,155. AU President Cornelius "Neil" Kerwin ranked fourth with $760,774.

2. The head football coaches at the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen made $1.9 million, according to a 2009 analysis by USA Today. Al Groh at U-Va. and Frank Beamer at Tech each made $2.1 million in salary, benefits and other income.

3. Georgetown’s basketball coach, John Thompson, was paid $1.8 million in fiscal 2009, according to tax documents. (George Mason Coach Jim Larranaga pulled in $714,500, just behind Kerwin, according to another USA Today analysis.)

4. Top med-school executives. Howard J. Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown, made $719,663 in fiscal 2009, according to tax documents. John Williams, vice president of health affairs at GWU, made $867,913. (At least three others at GWU — Treasurer Louis Katz, Chief Investment Officer Donald Lindsey and former president Steve Trachtenberg — also were paid in excess of $750,000 from various sources.) Hopkins med-school Dean Edward Miller made $966,000. Administrator Henry Brem made $958,000. Top profs Paul Sponseller and Walter Stark each were paid more than $1 million.

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