Three of Yale’s top administrators each earned over $1.5 million in 2012.
Linda Lorimer, the vice president for global and strategic initiatives, and Dorothy Robinson, the University’s general counsel, took home $1,748,767 and $1,666,175 in 2012, respectively. The administrators’ salaries were made public through Yale’s Form 990, which is filed with the Internal Revenue Service annually as part of the University’s tax exempt status. The salaries were included on page 249 of the 302-page document.
Both administrators earned approximately $1 million in supplemental retirement benefits, which came on top of base compensation of $521,594 and $508,321 for Lorimer and Robinson, respectively. Neither received the supplemental benefits in the previous year.
Also included in the filing was the 2012 pay for then-University President Richard Levin, who earned $1,099,221 in base compensation. But with deferred compensation, nontaxable benefits, a bonus and other compensation, Levin brought home a total of $1.84 million.
Levin’s base salary in fiscal 2013, his last as University president, was just under $50,000 higher than he earned the previous year.
The form showed, however, that administrators are not Yale’s highest earners. Chief Investment Officer David Swensen and Yale Investments Office Senior Director Dean Takahashi earned totals of $3.1 and $2.2 million, respectively. Both of their compensations are based on the performance of the endowment.
While Lorimer declined to comment on the reasons for the benefits, University Spokesman Tom Conroy said both vice presidents received the one-time distributions because of their contributions to the University. The compensation was authorized by the Yale Corporation, Conroy said.
“Linda and Dorothy have each given extraordinary service to Yale, and no vice presidents have served longer or with more distinction,” said Roland Betts, a former senior fellow of the Yale Corporation. “It was fitting recognition of their careers at Yale.”
Despite the fact that Robinson announced in April that she would be retiring at the end of this year, the retirement benefits are no indication that Lorimer is retiring anytime soon, Conroy said.
In fiscal year 2013, which was University President Peter Salovey’s last year as provost, Salovey earned a base compensation of $583,976. In that same year, now-Provost Benjamin Polak earned a base compensation of $269,796 — suggesting that his salary may rise in upcoming fiscal years.
In the 2014 fiscal year, all salaries and benefits for faculty and staff totaled $1.917 billion, continuing an upwards trend from the previous five years. Conroy said that just because the University has faced budget cuts and a reduction in faculty does not mean that any individual’s compensation decreased as a result.
“While we have had budget challenges, we have ensured that we have remained competitive in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff as well as key administrators,” Salovey said.
Levin’s compensation was the second-highest in the Ivy League. In 2013, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger earned a total of $3,415,662.
According to a 2013 report from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 42 private U.S. college presidents made more than $1 million in 2011. Debates about whether seven-figure compensations for these top administrators is justified considering the rising cost of tuition have gained momentum in recent years — some of them with Levin at their centers.
In an article published by WGBH, a non-commercial educational PBS member television station located in Boston, Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity Richard Vedder said Levin’s rapid salary jump since he took office in 1993 was bothersome.
“When he was hired as president of Yale his salary was under $500,000 a year,” Vedder said. “He’s now making $1.6 million. Same school. Same individual.”
Salovey said that Yale’s compensation for the president, provost and vice presidents is set based on a detailed review of compensation of comparable positions at similar universities, as well as an evaluation of the individual’s performance.
Correction: Nov. 5
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Richard Vedder was the Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity at Ohio State University. He is in fact an economics professor at Ohio University and the Director of the CCAPP, which is not affiliated with Ohio State.