LET'S hear it for Daniel L. Ritchie, chancellor of the University of Denver, who earned $1 last year, says he doesn't need a salary and would rather see his university use the money in other ways.
Dr. Ritchie (a wealthy former cattle rancher and corporate executive) was the lowest-paid private college and university president, according to the May 5 Chronicle of Higher Education, while John Silber of Boston University ranked first at $414,700. (The figures are for the 1991-92 fiscal year and include "welfare benefit programs" such as health and pension plans.)
William C. Richardson of Johns Hopkins University was fourth, at $360,019.
It's possible to obtain the figures because a six-year-old law, much resented by many of the private colleges and universities, requires nonprofit institutions to make public their federal tax form.
And though we respect the presidents -- theirs is a high-pressure job that requires constant fund-raising, attention to academic detail and care and feeding of egomaniacal faculty -- we must note quickly that they are not (by far!) the highest-paid employees in academe.
That honor, of course, goes to the docs. Five of them in private higher education earned more than $1 million last year, according to the Chronicle, and the 10th-ranked employee (at $777,000), an associate professor of clinical surgery at Cornell University, earned $362,000 more than Dr. Silber.
Other Maryland presidents listed by the Chronicle were Rhoda Dorsey, of Goucher College, who earned $120,000 last year; Robert H. Chambers, of Western Maryland College, $149,000; Charles H. Trout, of Washington College, $130,000; and Christopher B. Nelson, of St. John's College in Annapolis, $107,000.
All four presidents are in a category with presidents earning a median salary nationally of $126,900, according to the Chronicle.