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Gee still among highest-paid US college presidents

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual rankings of public college presidents’ pay, released Sunday, suggest West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, who has led universities for decades, remains among the highest-paid of his peers nationwide.

As expected, the rankings showed Gee’s total compensation for leading West Virginia University in 2013-14 was far below what he made leading The Ohio State University, when he was the highest-paid public college leader in the country and the highest-paid since The Chronicle began its rankings with the 2009-10 fiscal year. Gee drew more than $5 million at OSU in 2012-13, while he made only about $208,000 at WVU last fiscal year.

But the publication appended a clarification to that $208,000 number: Gee’s 2013-14 pay was for only the part of that fiscal year that he served as WVU’s interim president. He was hired for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ends June 30, and the next fiscal year at an annual base salary of more than $775,000 – an amount that, according to The Chronicle’s analysis, exceeded every other U.S. college chief executive’s reported base salary in 2013-14.

Last fiscal year, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa made about $752,000 in base pay, Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd made $725,000, University of Houston system Chancellor and University of Houston President Renu Khator made $700,000, University of Delaware President Patrick T. Harker made $683,000 and University of Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi made $650,000.

While those individuals or other presidents may have received raises for this fiscal year to top Gee’s 2014-15 pay – and Gee’s replacement at OSU, Michael Drake, had an $800,000 base salary this fiscal year – The Chronicle’s data suggests that Gee’s current salary will regardless remain among the highest in the country when the 2014-15 rankings are published…

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