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Former George Washington University president Stephen J. Trachtenberg received $3.7 million in pay and benefits in 2007-08, $2 million more than the total compensation that year for any other current or former leader in private higher education in the United States, according to a survey of executive pay released Monday.

Compensation for presidents of private colleges and universities rose 6.5 percent in 2007-08, to a median of $358,746, according to an annual survey of 419 institutions by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The trade publication analyzed federal tax documents for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

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By Jodi Westrick  |  November 2, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  | Category:  Local , National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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What would we do without Hampton University's totalitarian president and his cronies? I know. We'd have a school of journalism not rocked by staff departures and a school newspaper instead of "the truth according to HARVEY".

Posted by: rcvinson64 | November 2, 2009 12:04 PM

Tuitions have now reached the height that many middle-class students can no longer afford them, and have been the topic of many recent magazines. It is greedy for a college president to act like a Wall Street banker, and pull out $2-3 million from the University. The work probably is light enough to give him considerable free time especially in the summer. Its ridiculous and should be changed.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | November 2, 2009 1:11 PM

I don't know if Trachtenberg did to receive such a large salary and bonus(es.) It may be that he brought in large dollar amounts in endowments and thus deserved the remuneration.

I have no idea what rcvinson64 is talking about because I know that whites are not welcome at Hampton. I did read about the homecoming queen.


Posted by: mortified469 | November 2, 2009 3:38 PM

Sure, paying university presidents a million dollars a year and more seems like a lot, but how can we put a price tag on the value of those who teach our young people that greed is wrong?

Posted by: Rob_ | November 2, 2009 4:48 PM

My modest proposal is that the pay of college presidents be inversely proportional to tuition at the school.

Posted by: sensible | November 2, 2009 5:40 PM

Running a university ranges from running small communities, multiple business ventures, and fund-raiser in chief. Is there an appropriate limit on compensation? Yes - and that's a Board decision. Bottom line is that you cannot only comment based on knowing the dollar amount. You have to also review accomplishments, goals, and vision.

Posted by: spike8466 | November 2, 2009 5:57 PM

What's most important: it is faculty and staff who significantly advance students in knowledge, in skills, and in values.
It is they who should be the focus of attention for inancial and other recognitions and of students considering whether to enroll at a college or university.

GWU has grown significantly in size and its tuition has soared. But has the proportion of faculty and staff who significantly advance students in knowledge, in skills and in values become meaningfully larger so that every students can reasonably expect to have engagement with such persons each semester? If so, then perhaps the compensation the GWU presidwent has received might be considered as warranted. However, a better compensation for a college or universityt president and other administrators would be facilitating arrangements to enable more ongoing engagement with the faculty and staff who are distinguished by their impact on students.


Posted by: jimb | November 2, 2009 7:11 PM

I went to GWU and had a great time. That being said, I swore to myself a long time ago that I would never donate a cent to that university. I luckily escaped unscathed by undergraduate debt - a feat not often accomplished by students at that school. Students there are indoctrinated with absurd discussions of "giving back" - all the while they are literally shackling themselves with a lifetime of debt for an education that is good, but which will not come anywhere near assuring them the lifestyle they think it will.

Trachtenberg's antics also grew tiresome - he would constantly joke about the cost of the university to parents and students alike. It's not a very funny subject to seniors who have no job prospects and $60,000+ of debt accruing at 8%+ interest...

Posted by: Christopherjhan | November 2, 2009 10:38 PM

All university presidents justify their 6-, 7-digit annual salaries by their prestige, and networking activities to obtain MONEY for their universities.

Now, how come student tuition, fees, etc. keep going up?

Many domestic students study in Canada, Australia where everything is cheaper.

Yesterday there was an article in washingtonpost.com consulting high school seniors, and their parents to postpone entering university by 1 year in order to earn money, gain real life experience through working.

Another reason is to let the adolescents have a mental break to find out what their real career goals are.

They should not become physicians, laywers, etc. because their parents like them to do so. Another factor is peer pressure.

Not only universities presidents are rich, all high level administrators make 6-digit annual salaries.

The result? Even Yale University now courts new students!

Use your common sense. People are not stupid in paying high tuition and fees at private, and public universities because of their "brand"; that is, their reputation.

A side effect is that many middle-class students have a lot of debts by the time of their graduation.

They better enter those universities that fit their needs, abilities, and carrer goals.

Now virtually all universities have to court students like customers.

Even in France, the president and 2 close aides of the Universite de Toulon were accused of bribery from Chinese students who are eager to get a foreign diploma because it has an advantage in job hunting in China.

I read this article in the online version of the newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur.

Posted by: hoshong | November 7, 2009 8:46 PM

The posts by others are very interesting. One mentioned attending the university in the article, and finding that Trachtenburg made jokes with parents and students about the tuition costs. That alone, tells me Trachtenburg was never worth what he was paid. He's out of touch completely.
Another poster asks how we can put a price on those who teach. College & University presidents normally do not teach, unless they did earlier in their career.
Real teachers that get paid to teach, are rarely overpaid, unless a union represents them, and then some are overpaid, because of the ones teaching under union protection, that wouldn't meet standards if their competancy had to be measured accurately. Sure, most teachers that belong to unions are well qualified, but remember those duds you know about that really should be fired, as you're getting riled.
The fact that Trachtenburg was paid $ 2 million more than any other president proves it was "rigged". That school is not 217% "better" than the rest of the nation's universities by a long shot, as one should be able to deduce from the salaries.
Finally, once Trachtenburg's pay becomes well known, other university presidents will use the fact as a basis for their future demands, the same as private industry ceo's do. They will use that "attract and retain the best people" crap that's being used so much these days, but hasn't been proven valid when scrutinized over time, like the absurd bonuses that are tied to "performance". The Brooklyn Bridge is still for sale.

Posted by: nosmiley | November 9, 2009 2:22 PM

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