Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Did your university president make the list?

For some who are interested in biotech research, their calling lies less with PCR and pipettes and more with managing the institutions that support that research. Raising funds, appointing new staff, overseeing research programs, and awarding scholarships, fellowships, and prizes are important duties. Yet, how much do they make for their efforts? Are they grossly overpaid or underpaid for what they do? And, how much do they make compared to what biopharma CEOs or research institute leaders make?

GEN wants you to be the judge. Below is a list of leaders of major research universities, ranked by their total compensation for the most recent year such figures were available.

#20. Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.

Chancellor, University of Texas System

$756,700 in FY 2011–20121

#19. James P. Clements, Ph.D.

President, West Virginia University

$775,000 in 2012–20132

#18. Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D.

President, University of Michigan

$845,105 in FY 2010–20113

#17. Drew Gilpin Faust, Ph.D.

President, Harvard University

$875,331 in FY 2010–2011

#16. Richard H. Brodhead, Ph.D.

President and Professor of English, Duke University

$969,394 in FY 2010–2011

#15. Lee T. Todd, Jr., Ph.D.

President, 2001-20114, University of Kentucky

$972,106 in FY 2010–2011

#14. Susan Hockfield, Ph.D.

President, 2004-20125, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$1,006,969 in FY 2010–2011

#13. John L. Hennessy, Ph.D.

President, Stanford University

$1,033,557 in FY 2010–2011

#12. James W. Wagner, Ph.D.

President, Emory University

$1,172,397 in FY ending Aug. 31, 2011

#11. Allen M. Spiegel, M.D.

Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

$1,244,760 in FY 2010–2011

#10. Morton O. Schapiro, Ph.D.

President, Northwestern University

$1,255,653 in FY 2010–2011

#9. Ronald J. Daniels, J.D.

President, Johns Hopkins University

$1,271,043 in FY 2010–2011

#8. C. L. Max Nikias, Ph.D.

President, University of Southern California

$1,316,059 in FY 2010–2011

#7. Amy Gutmann, Ph.D.

President, University of Pennsylvania

$1,462,742 in FY 2010–2011

#6. Robert J. Zimmer, Ph.D.

President, University of Chicago

$1,597,918 in FY 2010–2011

#5. Richard C. Levin, Ph.D.

President, Yale University

$1,616,066 in FY 2010–2011

#4. Lee C. Bollinger, Ph.D.

President, Columbia University

$1,932,931 in FY 2010–2011

#3. E. Gordon Gee, Ed.D.

President, Ohio State University

$1,992,221 in FY 2010–2011

#2. Nicholas S. Zeppos, J.D.

Chancellor, Vanderbilt University

$2,228,349 in FY 2010–2011

#1. Mark Stephen Wrighton, Ph.D.

Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis

$2,268,837 in FY 2010–20116

Source: Higher Education Institution Administrative Accountability Report required of all state-funded universities and systems, and posted online at 

Source: announcement by West Virginia University, May 18, 2012:

3 Dr. Coleman’s total compensation package grew to more than $910,700 the following fiscal year, according to a Dec. 20, 2011 report in, based on a base salary of $585,783, plus $175,000 in deferred compensation, a $100,000 yearly retention bonus, more than $50,000 in annual retirement pay, and the use of a car and the university’s president’s house [].

The University of Michigan only discloses employee salaries through an online portal,; its most recent figures were for 2010-2011.

For 2012-13, Dr. Coleman’s base salary rose to $603,357—a $17,600 (2.75%) raise she announced she would donate toward scholarships; see, Sept. 20, 2012:

4 Succeeded by Eli Capilouto, D.M.D., Sc.D., M.P.H., on July 1, 2011. Dr. Todd retains a faculty position as professor of engineering.

5 Succeeded by L. Rafael Reif, Ph.D., on July 1, 2012. Dr. Hockfield retains a faculty position as professor of neuroscience.

Figure includes a one-time deferred compensation distribution totaling $1,142,223.09. Nearly all of that distribution ($1,138,000) was earned in prior years and reported on prior Form 990s as deferred compensation.

Compensation figures for U.S. private institutions are included within the Form 990 filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and made public through Compensation figures for public university heads, whose institutions are exempt from filing Form 990s, were disclosed by sources that include the schools, public databases, and news reports not publicly challenged by the schools. FY denotes Fiscal Year, which ends June 30 unless otherwise specified. CY denotes Calendar Year.

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