Levin still sixth-highest paid president

If salary is any indication, Harvard does not appreciate its president as much as Yale appreciates University President Richard Levin.

According to a report published this week by the Chronicle of Higher Education, former Harvard president Neil L. Rudenstine earned $380,272 in 2000. This figure represents 0.02 percent of Harvard’s $2 billion budget and is significantly less than the $561,709 compensation package netted by Levin.

The Chronicle said Levin earned the sixth-highest salary of any private university president. Levin also ranked sixth on the list in 1999,1998, 1997 and 1996.

In 2000, Levin’s compensation increased by slightly over $36,000. In 1999, his total salary was $525,687.

The Yale Corporation decides the president’s salary and benefits package each year.

Yale Corporation fellow Roland Betts ’68 said the process determining Levin’s salary is very thorough and looks at every aspect of Levin’s responsibilities.

“The role of a university president is unbelievably complicated,” Betts said. “It has many moving parts to it, and you basically have to look at all of that.”

Betts said he thinks Levin should be the highest-paid university president.

“I think we have the best university president in the country, and we have one of the best presidents Yale has ever had,” Betts said. “He is underpaid, and we have to do better next year.”

Tuesday night Levin said he was unaware of his ranking.

“I came out sixth?” Levin said.

He declined further comment about his salary.

Listed ahead of Levin in the rankings were fellow Ivy League presidents George Rupp of Columbia University and former Yale provost Judith Rodin, now of the University of Pennsylvania. Rupp edged out Levin for fifth place with salary and benefits of $562, 610, and Rodin ranked second on the list with $698, 325.

The University of Bridgeport boasts the nation’s highest-paid president, Richard L. Rubenstein. Rubenstein, who left Bridgeport after 2000, received $832, 492, and the Chronicle noted a trend of departing presidents topping the rankings in private colleges.

The report pointed to a trend of rising salaries among university heads.

The Chronicle reported that the average salary of a private college president for 2000 was $207,130 — an increase of 11.2 percent from 1999′s average of $186,255.

Yale Provost Alison Richard said that she did not think figures revealed any particular trend.

“What is reflected in the salary of university presidents is that it is an incredibly difficult and demanding job,” Richard said.

Levin was not the highest-paid Yale employee mentioned in the Chronicle’s report. David Swensen, Yale’s chief investment officer, was listed seventh on the list of top university earners with a salary of $767, 316.

Levin said Swensen’s contributions to the University are commensurate with his pay.

“David Swensen has produced excellent results over the last 16 years and especially over the last few years,” Levin said.

The Chronicle gathers data from the government-mandated Internal Revenue Service 990 form.

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