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Gee Pluribus Unum

Karissa Lam / Design editor

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee continues to lead the pack as the the highest paid public university president in the nation, raking in about double of what the next highest paid president makes per year.

In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, Gee earned $1,818,911, a number that includes bonuses, future earnings and retirement, according to a special report The Chronicle of Higher Education released Sunday. Gee is the only public university president to earn more than $1 million in a year.

Jason Conklin, a third-year in electrical and computer engineering, said he doesn’t think the gap between Gee’s and the next highest paid president is justified.

“I think any university president, no matter how big or how small the school, does basically the same job,” Conklin said. “There’s no reason for that discrepancy between Gee and the next highest paid university president.”

Gee was unavailable for comment on the report.

His earnings are $913,907 more than the second highest paid president, Mark Emmert of the University of Washington, who earned $905,004 in 2009-2010. Emmert is no longer president at the University of Washington after being named president of the NCAA last year.

Eric Hill, a third-year in computer information science, said Gee deserves this kind of pay for all the work he does for the university.

“Look at all he does for the university,” Hill said. “The way he is personally attached to every aspect of the university is awesome.”

The report lists two different types of earnings: cost of employment and total compensation. Cost of employment is defined as “the cost to the university and the state of employing the chief executive during the fiscal year, counting base pay, bonuses, deferred compensation and retirement.” The report said this can also include other provisions, such as housing and car allowances, tuition assistance and related spousal pay.

Total compensation is defined as “actual dollars received by the chief executive during the fiscal year in base pay, bonuses and deferred-compensation payouts.”

Gee ranks No. 1 in both categories.

The report said Gee’s total compensation in 2009-2010 was $1,323,911.

Two other Big Ten university presidents cracked the top 10 in total cost of employment. Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, was paid $800,592 in 2009-2010, and Michigan’s president, Mary Sue Coleman, earned $783,850 in the same time period.

Those two salaries combined still fall more than $250,000 short of Gee’s earnings.

OSU has increased Gee’s salary since the period when the data was collected. According to a press release in December, The Board of Trustees approved a 2 percent increase on his base pay. This is an increase of $16,042, bringing the total to $818,167. The Board also approved a 37 percent increase to his performance compensation, which is $296,786.

In the December press release, Gee said he “intends to contribute his performance compensation to support his scholarship fund as well as other strategic university initiatives.”

University spokesman Jim Lynch did not have any further information on this.

Hill said there is no question that Gee deserves the pay, mentioning all the money he brings into the university.

“The way he keeps tradition and good values of the university as a priority, well, it’s awesome,” Hill said. “Gee is the man.”


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 5, 2011

An earlier version of this story stated that the second highest paid public university president makes almost half of Gee’s yearly salary. The second highest paid public university president makes about half of Gee’s yearly salary.

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