Drexel president cracks the million-dollar club

Drexel President John A. Fry had total compensation of $1.02 million in 2011, ranking 41st among the 42 leaders of private U.S. colleges who were paid more than $1 million that year.
Drexel President John A. Fry had total compensation of $1.02 million in 2011, ranking 41st among the 42 leaders of private U.S. colleges who were paid more than $1 million that year. (LAURENCE KESTERSON / File Photograph)
Posted: December 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Drexel University president John A. Fry made the million-dollar-plus club.

Fry is one of 42 private college presidents nationwide who were paid more than $1 million in total compensation in 2011, the latest year for which data are available, according to the annual salary survey published by the Chronicle of Higher Education. With a salary of $1.02 million, he placed 41st in compensation among the nation's private colleges.

Total compensation includes base pay, bonus pay, deferred compensation, benefits, and other miscellaneous pay.

It's the first year Fry's full salary at Drexel has been made public in the report, which draws data from public tax forms.

Formerly president of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, he became Drexel's leader in August 2010.

Richard A. Greenawalt, president of Drexel's board of trustees, said the trustees were very pleased with Fry's performance.

"Under his leadership, Drexel has completed a $400 million fund-raising campaign, opened numerous new academic spaces, including the URBN Center [home for media arts and design] and the LeBow College of Business building, and developed a comprehensive strategic plan and campus master plan that will guide the university's operations and growth through 2017," Greenawalt said in a statement.

Fry is not the highest-paid university president in the region.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, had a compensation package in excess of $2 million - up 43 percent from the year before, making her the sixth-highest-paid president in the country.

That's up from 12th highest the year before.

Gutmann's salary was made public in September when it was reported by the Daily Pennsylvanian. At that time, David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast and chairman of Penn's board, called Gutmann "the best university president in the country" and said "we believe her compensation should reflect that reality."

Gutmann, who became president in 2004, led a successful fund-raising campaign, bringing in $4.3 billion - well above its $3.5 billion goal. Also under her leadership, the university started a "no-loan policy," providing grants rather than loans to students with financial need. The university also has recruited prominent professors and created more than 100 named professorships. The trustees last year extended Gutmann's contract through 2019.

The only other local president paid more than $1 million was Alice P. Gast, who heads Lehigh University. Her package topped $1.1 million, placing her 35th in the country, up from 42d last year. She became Lehigh's president in 2006.

Lehigh spokesman Jordan Reese issued this statement over the weekend about Gast:

"President Gast is an internationally renowned scholar, researcher, and academic leader. Her strong and effective leadership in this critical time for higher education has enabled Lehigh to attract outstanding students and faculty and to fulfill the university's mission of teaching, research, and service to society. Leaders with the vision and talent to lead a complex national research university are in high demand, and President Gast's compensation is comparable to that of presidents at other leading research universities."

According to the Chronicle's report, the median compensation package for a private college president in 2011 was $410,523, up 3.2 percent from the previous year.

Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, topped the list this year.

He received $3.4 million, including base pay of $918,000.

About 40 percent of the total was deferred compensation set aside in previous years, the Chronicle noted.

Two other Ivy league presidents made the top 10 list in addition to Gutmann: Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia, with $2.3 million; and Richard C. Levin, former president of Yale, with $1.6 million.


ssnyder@phillynews.com

215-854-4693 @ssnyderinq

www.inquirer.com/campusinq

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