Penn State

Who are Penn State’s top earners? President, football coach among highest in country

Sandy Barbour’s new contract approved by committee

Barbour’s new deal was approved by the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Compensation.
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Barbour’s new deal was approved by the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Compensation.

Penn State recently released the salaries of 30 of its highest-paid employees, as required by the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law.

The list, which includes officers and directors of the university, athletics officials and hospital directors and staff, covers the fiscal year from 2017-18.

Under the RTK law, here are the base salaries of Penn State’s officers and directors:

  • Eric Barron, president: $826,184
  • Stephen Dunham, vice president and general counsel: $551,364 (with benefits: $592,026)
  • David Gray, senior vice president — Finance and Business: $500,958 (with benefits: $714,302)
  • A. Craig Hillmeier, CEO — Hershey Medical Center: $944,379 (with bonuses and benefits: $1.56 million)
  • Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost: $536,562 (with bonuses and benefits: $613,212)

With benefits and bonuses, Barron made more than $1.1 million during the fiscal year. During the calendar year of 2018, reported the Chronicle of Higher Education, Barron became the third-highest paid public university president in the country, bringing in a total salary of over $1.8 million. That’s because Penn State’s board of trustees approved a contract extension for Barron through June 2022 at its May 2018 meeting, which included an $800,000 completion payment, $200,000 annual retention payment and his $834,364 base salary.

In the 2016-17 RTK report, Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for Development and Alumni Relations at Penn State, was included in the officers and directors salary section. He left the position in August 2016.

Former president Graham Spanier — forced out in 2011 after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s arrest on child sexual abuse charges — was included on the 2016-17 non-officers/directors salary list, with a salary of $600,000 due to the terms of his separation agreement, in which he was paid that amount annually for five years of tenured faculty service. The university made the last payment in November 2017. Currently, it pays Spanier an undisclosed salary as a tenured professor on administrative leave, reported the Associated Press in May.

Penn State is also required to release the highest 25 salaries paid to employees who are not officers/directors. At the top is head football Coach James Franklin, who made $1.61 million in base salary.

Franklin’s total salary for 2018 was $4.8 million, per his contract, which was set at $4.3 million in 2017, with raises every year. He receives a $300,000 retention bonus annually (which increases to $500,000 in 2021 and $1 million the year after) and is eligible for bonuses up to $1 million. In 2018, he was the 15th highest paid NCAA football coach, according to USA Today, and cracked the top 5 in the Big Ten, just behind Lovie Smith at Illinois.

Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour had a total salary of $835,420 in 2017-18. In February 2019, Barbour signed a 5-year contract extension that catapulted her average base salary to $1.27 million, and would have been the fourth-highest base salary for an athletic director in the country the previous fiscal year.

The base salaries for all 25 non-officers/directors are:

  • James Franklin, head football coach: $1,610,000
  • Robert Harbaugh, Department of Neurosurgery chair: $1,026,218 (with bonuses and benefits: $1.34 million)
  • Peter Dillon, Department of Surgery chair: $920,713 (with bonuses and benefits: $1.15 million)
  • Kevin Black, Orthopedics/Rehabilitation chair: $871,892 (with bonuses and benefits: $1.12 million)
  • John Myers, staff physician — Pediatric Surgery: $849,297
  • Joseph Clark, staff physician — Pediatric Surgery: $807,466
  • Alan Brechbill, executive director — Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: $773,785 (with benefits and bonuses: $1.17 million)
  • Sandy Barbour, athletic director: $728,208
  • Walter Pae, staff physician — Heart and Vascular Institute: $720,727
  • Brent Pry, football coach: $693,503
  • Stephen Massini, executive vice president and chief administrative officer — Penn State Health: $686,222
  • James McInerney, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $677,981
  • Lawrence Sinoway, director — Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute: $675,956
  • William Hennrikus, staff physician — Orthopedics: $670,249
  • Douglas Armstrong, staff physician — Orthopedics: $656,380
  • Kevin Cockroft, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $650,628
  • John Kelleher, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $637,524
  • Raymond Hohl, director — Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute: $634,736
  • Christopher Zacko, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $616,182
  • Kenneth Hill, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $615,048
  • Davin Quillen, Department of Ophthalmology chair: $612,719
  • Timothy Mosher, General Diagnostic Radiology chair: $609,640
  • Shelly Timmons, staff physician — Neurosurgery: $605,033
  • John Reid, staff physician — Orthopedics: $604,710
  • Wayne Sebastianelli, staff physician — Sports Medicine State College: $602,337
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Sarah Paez covers Centre County communities, government and town and gown relations for the Centre Daily Times. She studied English and Spanish at Cornell University and grew up outside of Washington, D.C.