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Four public university presidents make collective $9.2 million

Four presidents at public research universities made a collective $9.2 million in fiscal year 2012, with the top earner of the group making much of his money because he was fired, according to a report released Sunday by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Graham B. Spanier, who was terminated from Pennsylvania State University in late 2011 for his handling of a child-molestation scandal, was paid $2.9 million — $1.2 million of it in severance.

This was the first fiscal year that four presidents topped the million mark in compensation.

The typical president was more likely to make around $441,000, the median compensation figure in the survey of 212 presidents at 191 public research institutions.

Maryland's three leaders all ranked in the low 80s in terms of highest paid. William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland, ranked 80th with compensation of $490,000.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, came in 82nd with $487,000.

And Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland College Park, placed 83rd with compensation of roughly $483,000.

Public college top earners

1. Graham B. Spanier, Pennsylvania State University at University Park, $2,906,271

2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University in Alabama, $2,542,865

3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University-Main Campus, $1,899,420

4. Alan G. Merten, George Mason University, $1,869,369

5. Jo Ann M. Gora, Ball State University, $984,647

6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan system, $918,783

7. Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749

8. Mark G. Yudof, University of California system, $847,149

9. J. Bernard Machen, University of Florida, $834,562

10. Francisco G. Cigarroa, University of Texas system, $815,833

SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education

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