Pay for ex-college presidents

A list of more than a dozen former college and university presidents in the state who received pay packages after leaving the post.

Barbara W. Newell

College: Wellesley College

Served: 1972 to 1980

Location: Wellesley, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $700,000 in 2010

Details: Wellesley College reported paying Barbara Newell $700,000 in 2009, 30 years after she resigned to become chancellor of the State University System of Florida. The college said the money was for deferred compensation she earned while at Wellesley, invested with the college, and didn’t withdraw until later.

Diana Chapman Walsh

College: Wellesley College

Served: 1993 to 2007

Location: Wellesley, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $860,863 over two years

Details: Wellesley College said it paid Walsh, who stepped down in 2007, $860,863 over the next two years to compensate her for 24 months of sabbatical time she earned with the college while she was president. The school said she was not required to do any work for Wellesley College after she stepped down as president, but remained an active volunteer.

David J. Sargent

College: Suffolk University

Served: 1989 to 2010

Location: Boston, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $854,085 in 2011


Suffolk University reported paying David J. Sargent, who stepped down in 2010, a total of $854,085 the following year. The bulk of the amount was for $469,446 in severance and $318,000 in deferred compensation that was earned in 2009 and 2010 (and reported on those years’ tax forms). Spokesman Greg Gatlin declined to say whether Sargent received additional payments in 2012 or 2013.

John Silber

College: Boston University

Served: 1971-1996

Location: Boston, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $814,956 (1998-1999)


After Silber stepped down as president in 1996, he continued earning more than many college presidents as chancellor until 2003, including more than $800,000 in total compensation in the fiscal year that ended in 1999 alone. The 1999 compensation included benefits and a loan that was forgiven. Silber then remained on the payroll as president emeritus, receiving $6.1 million in 2005 (mostly for deferred compensation accrued over the years). BU also allowed Silber to remain in a 10-bedroom Brookline home until his death last year.

Jehuda Reinharz

College: Brandeis University

Served: 1994 to 2010

Location: Waltham, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $622,474 (2011)

Details: Shortly before Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz stepped down at the end of 2010, the board signed a new contract with him to keep him on as president emeritus, a professor and director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry. Under the new contract, the university agreed to pay him $500,000 in salary in 2011, $287,500 a year through June 2014 and then $180,000 a year starting in July 2014 as a half-time professor. Brandeis also allowed him to remain in the president’s house in Newton for the first six months of 2011, which Brandeis valued as being worth another $60,000 in compensation.

E. Gordon Gee

College: Ohio State

Served: 2007 to 2013

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Post-presidential pay: $5.8 million over five years

Details: Ohio State gave outgoing president E. Gordon Gee a $5.8 million contract when he retired last year after he was reprimanded for making jokes about Catholics and other colleges. Under the five-year deal, Gee will continue to receive a base annual salary of $410,000 as president emeritus and a tenured law professor and a $300,000 annual grant to cover his expenses. In addition, the university agreed to pay him $1.5 million up front and $800,000 when he eventually leaves Ohio State, though Gee also gave up claims to another $6 million he would have been due had he remained university president through 2017.

Richard M. Freeland

College: Northeastern University

Served: 1996-2006

Location: Boston, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $239,690

Details: Northeastern University president emeritus Richard M. Freeland receives an annual pension of $209,690 for life, plus a small salary as an adjunct faculty member. In 2011, the latest year available, he received $30,000 i to teach a history class. When he stepped down in 2006, Freeland also received $2.3 million – making him the country’s highest paid private college president that year – mainly because he received a decade’s worth of deferred compensation in a lump sum. Freeland also receives $212,180 a year as the state’s commissioner of higher education.

Lawrence S. Bacow

College: Tufts University

Served: 2001 to 2011

Location: Medford, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $1.7 million in 2011

Details: When Lawrence S. Bacow retired in 2011, Tufts paid him a $1.7 million lump sump payment, including one-year’s pay and benefits (in lieu of a sabbatical), accrued vacation and other compensation he was owed under his contract. That’s in addition to the $373,687 in salary he earned before he stepped down. A university spokeswoman said Bacow is no longer on the payroll.

Lawrence H. Summers

College: Harvard University

Served: 2001 to 2006

Location: Cambridge, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $580,000 a year

Details: When Harvard University president Lawrence Summers stepped down in 2006, the university gave him a year-long sabbatical at his presidential salary of around $580,000 and an interest deferred loan of $1 million. He then continued to earn a similar salary as professor for more than a year, while doing outside work. Summers also earned at least $5.2 million from a hedge fund, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees before joining the White House in 2009, according to his federal financial disclosure forms. He has since returned to Harvard, where he earns a salary more typical of fellow professors. The average full professor at Harvard earned more than $203,000 last year.

Jack M. Wilson

College: University of Massachusetts system

Served: 2003 to 2011

Location: Boston, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $425,000 (2011-2012)

Details: Former University of Massachusetts president Jack Wilson kept his presidential salary of $425,000 during a year-long sabbatical after he stepped down in 2011. He then became a professor of higher education, emerging technologies and innovation at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Wilson, who earns $269,180, double the average for UMass full professors.

Brian M. Barefoot

College: Babson College

Served: 2001 to 2008

Location: Wellesley, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $45,000 (2008-2009)

Details: Babson College President Brian M. Barefoot earned $45,000 working as a part-time adviser to the school for a year after he stepped down, a spokeswoman said.

Evan Dobelle

College: Westfield State University

Served: 2008 to 2013

Location: Westfield, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $0

Details: Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle retired without any severance after the board placed him on paid leave to investigate his spending and rejected his request for a sabbatical and faculty position. But Dobelle is continuing to push forward with a lawsuit against the school and others seeking additional compensation.

Bob Kerrey

College: New School

Served: 2001 to 2010

Location: New York, NY

Post Presidential Pay: $400,000 to $600,000 a year

Details: Former New School president and US Senator Bob Kerrey continued to earn $400,000 to $600,000 a year from the New School in a part-time advisory role after stepping down in 2010. But he resigned the position earlier this year after taking a job at another education organization, the

Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship in San Francisco. Kerrey initially said he thought he could keep both jobs, but resigned two weeks later after complaints.

Anthony W. Marx

College: Amherst College

Served: 2003 to 2011

Location: Amherst, MA

Post Presidential Pay: $1.4 million (2011)

Details: Outgoing Amherst College president Anthony W. Marx received about $1.4 million in 2011 after stepping down, mostly for deferred compensation he accrued during his eight-year presidency and the investment gains on those earnings. The payment also included $240,000 for sabbatical credit he earned, but did not use.

Source: Schools, IRS filings, Globe research

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