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The 10 Highest Paid College Presidents in the United States

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Universities require top notch people with a well-rounded background to run the school. To be president of a university, you need a diverse set of skills and knowledge and it is not a position for the weak or thin-skinned. As a president of a university, you deal with a wide variety of issues, problems, and people that can be monotonous, tedious, and frustrating. It is also a very rewarding position, to play such a vital role in people's lives and help them earn their degree and set out into the world, educated and better prepared for life. To be president of a university, having an extensive background in education, fundraising abilities, business skills, and someone who has had held higher education positions, among other qualities, are typically preferred or required. There has always been discrepancies on what educators make and should make, however, there is a lot more pay out for being the president of a university. This is a pretty lucrative position, especially at some universities. Here are the ten richest college presidents in the US.

10. Robert Witt

The number ten position of the richest college professors is Robert Witt. He is the tenth most wealthy college president and is president of the University of Alabama since May 5, 2012. He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Alabama System and holds an honorary degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and quickly climbed the academic ladder from chair to associate dean before taking his first president of a university position, first with University of Texas, Arlington, before leaving there to take his position with Alabama. His salary is $745,000.

9. Charles W. Steger

Virginia Tech's president, Charles W. Steger, received his Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering at the age of 31 in 1978, which happened to be right in the middle of his upward move in the administration of Tech. He climbed from instructor to assistant professor and onto Chair of the graduate program to associate professor. in 1981, when he was made dean of the College of Architecture, he was the youngest dean in the nation. He is the 15th president of the university, and his salary is $745,195.

8. Patrick Harker

Patrick Harker is the previous Dean of the Wharton School of the University and was the president of the University of Delaware. Harker grew up in New Jersey and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and took the position of president in 2007 and didn't retire until 20515. He had an annual salary of $880,156 while he held the position and is regarded as one of the richest college presidents in the nation.

7. Renu Khator

Renu Khator is an American Indian and is the thirteenth president of the University of Houston. She is the first president of the University who is foreign-born, and the first Indian American to ever lead a major University in the U.S.  She is also only the second woman to hold this position. Khator has an impressive annual salary of $850,00 and is the seventh wealthiest college president in the U.S.

6. Francisco G. Cigarrao

Francisco G. Cigarrao is a top, world-renowned medical doctor in Pediatric and transplant surgery. He is a leader to remember at the University of Texas System, and is one of the top paid presidents of a college making $864,660 as his annual salary. He is the first Hispanic to ever lead a University System at San Antonio, which is one of the top-rated University Systems in the nation. Cigarrao put in his resignation in 2014, and will be highly regarded as a true inspiration for the school and students.

5. Paula Allen-Meares

Paula Allen-Meares has an impressive background with her education and experience in the education field. She was the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Vice President of the University of Illinois. She holds certificates from the University of Michigan and Harvard University, in management, as well as an Executive Education certificate from the Women's Director of Development Program at Kellogg School of Management. She also holds a Culture of Innovation Certificate from Northwestern University, among other impressive positions at the University of Michigan. Her annual salary of $872,458, makes her the 5th richest college president.

4. Elson Floyd

Elson Floyd has  been revered as the best president of Washington University. His dedication and contribution to the school, have all been for the better of the school and the student body. He is the 10th president of the university that has four separate campuses and he has one of the largest annual salaries of any college, $877,250. Floyd has made such changes, since his taking the position, that allow the best options for students to explore and he is accredited for these changes. He is the fourth wealthiest college president in the U.S.

3. Joseph Alutto

Ohio State's president, Joseph Alutto's annual salary of $996,169, puts him in third place for being one of the wealthiest college presidents. He is very dedicated to the school and the students and it has been said that everyone feels comfortable being in his presence. He earned his Bachelor's degree in business administration while driving trucks, working at a chemical company, as well as a grocery store. He was succeeded in his position by Michael V. Drake in 2014, but remains in the top ten list for his incredible compensation for his time with the col

2. R. Bowen Loftin

The Pennsylvania State College president, R. Bowen Loftin is the second richest college president and is very well-known as a professor of physics and had been a chief executive of Mizzou prior. He is highly respected and in high-demand for his ability to handle detailed administrative work, as well as his long-time career in education. He earns $1,128,957 as an annual salary.

1. Rodney Erickson

Rodney Erickson, Penn State's President, was the wealthiest college professor, receiving $1.49 million in compensation, along with $633.336 as a base pay, a $150,000 bonus, $125,000 in severance pay and $586,267 in deferred compensation. It is considered a remarkable financial compensation package for a public college president considering the median base pay for an executive position in a public college is $428,250. Erickson took the position after Graham B. Erickson was forced to leave due to a scandal he was involved in.


Maria McCutchen

Written by Maria McCutchen

Maria McCutchen is an author and freelance writer living in Chattanooga, TN. She is the published author of her memoir, “It’s all in Your Head,” and a children’s book. She has been writing for over 15 years; writing articles, whitepapers, product write-ups and more for multiple online media sites, blogs, company websites and individuals. She is also an advocate for brain malformations, including Chiari Malformation, and works closely with the non-profit organization, The Chiari Project, writing for their quarterly newsletters.

Read more posts by Maria McCutchen

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