Curtis questioned why one person should receive so much of the credit for an institution's progress, calling the escalating pay packages an "arms race" and "prestige competition."

"Traditionally, it's a shared process," he said. "The president is not doing everything on his or her own."

2009 compensation for private college presidents in Maryland:

William R. Brody at Johns Hopkins University: $3.82 million

Kevin J. Manning at Stevenson University: $1.49 million

Ronald J. Daniels at the Johns Hopkins University: $916,634

Sanford J. Ungar at Goucher College: $599,764

Christopher B. Nelson at St. John's College: $523,385

Joan Develin Coley at McDaniel College: $513,820

Ronald J. Volpe at Hood College: $495,852

Thomas H. Powell at Mount St. Mary's University: $441,090

Michael P. Peters at St. John's College: $340,726

Lynn Baird Tipson at Washington College: $331,287

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

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