Yale President Richard Levin earned $715,212 for the 2004 fiscal year, making him the 11th highest-paid private university president, according to a study released by The Chronicle of Higher Education released yesterday.
Levin’s salary increased by 2.9 percent from his $695,025 compensation in 2003. The highest paid private university president was Vanderbilt University Chancellor Gordon Gee, who earned $1,326,786 in the 2004 fiscal year. Former University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin was the only Ivy League executive who placed in the top 10, earning $934,922 last year.
Harvard President Lawrence Summers earned $554,098 in the 2004 fiscal year, ranking seventh in the Ivy League and 27th among private universities nationwide.
Levin said the University has made efforts to avoid cutting wages for its employees.
“In the recent years where we have had some budget pressure, we have tried to keep faculty and staff compensation competitive,” Levin said.
Levin’s salary is determined by the Yale Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body. A Corporation subcommittee on compensation — composed this year of Theodore Shen ’66, Roland Betts ’68 and Janet Yellen ’71 — presents preliminary recommendations to all Corporation members.
Yale Corporation fellow Leonard Baker ’64, a former member of the compensation committee, said the Corporation considers a number of factors when determining Levin’s salary, including the salaries of presidents at peer institutions and Levin’s annual performance.
“I don’t think that there have been many other university presidents in the job for as long,” Baker said. “Frankly, we think that he is doing a really exceptional job.”
Levin said his rate of salary increase this year is lower than previous years due to budget constraints. His compensation increased by 6.2 percent during the previous year and has grown by 59.9 percent since fiscal year 1997, when he earned $447,265, according to the study.
Yale economics professor Paul Schultz said the increase in Levin’s salary is consistent with inflation, which usually accounts for a 3 to 4 percent wage increase each year.
University presidents’ relatively high salaries can be partly attributed to the small numbers of people suited for the demanding job, Yale historian and professor emeritus Gaddis Smith said.
“The competition for really talented men and women to be president is very, very intense,” Smith said. “It’s a very hard job. I think it requires a broader range of talents than even being president of the United States, and we’re in a market economy. You get what you’re worth in the market.”
Levin’s salary for the 2004 fiscal year is composed of $568,750 in pay, $146,462 in benefits, and $12,007 in expense account bills, according to the study.
The Chronicle study gathered information from 589 private colleges and universities nationwide.