Penn State

Penn State Board of Trustees approve salary increase for president Eric Barron

Penn State President Eric Barron received a 2.5% raise from the board of trustees, retroactively effective July 1.
Penn State President Eric Barron received a 2.5% raise from the board of trustees, retroactively effective July 1.

Penn State President Eric Barron received a 2.5% raise Friday, retroactively effective July 1.

Barron’s new annual base salary will be $855,228. With an annual retention bonus of $200,000, Barron will make over $1 million.

The Penn State Board of Trustees unanimously approved Barron’s raise after the compensation committee reviewed his performance against his 2018-2019 goals. His 2.5% salary increase is based on merit, said the chair of the committee.

During the 2018 calendar year, Barron earned a salary of over $1.8 million, making him the third-highest paid public university president in the country, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Barron’s salary, following a contract extension approved by the board of trustees in May 2018, broke down to an $834,364 base salary, an $800,000 contract completion payment, a $200,000 annual retention payment and nontaxable benefits of $20,517.

As part of Barron’s contract extension, his salary is reviewed annually and considered for an increase until 2022, when he is set to receive another $800,000 completion payment.

The board also approved salary increases for two Tier II executives at Penn State — Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost, and David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. Jones will make $570,000 annually and Gray will make $537,372 annually.

Gray made $500,958 in base salary the 2017-2018 fiscal year and Jones earned $536,562 in base salary that year.

In the realm of public universities, Barron — the highest-paid president in the Big Ten last year — was outearned only by Texas A&M University President Michael Young, at $1,893,740, and University of Texas system President William H. McRaven, who earned $2,578,609 in 2018.

In 2018-2019 school year, the average tuition and fees for an in-state undergraduate student at Penn State’s University Park campus were $18,454. Barron’s pay-to-tuition ratio is 101:1. By comparison, University of Iowa President James Bruce Harreld earned $623,056 in 2018, reported the Chronicle, and his pay to tuition ratio is 70:1.

Barron became the 18th president of Penn State in 2014, succeeding Rodney Erickson. He oversees a $6.5 billion budget and Penn State’s 21 campuses.

In his tenure as chief executive, Barron spearheaded the plan for a multi-million dollar art museum near the Arboretum to replace the Palmer Art Museum, expanded Penn State’s innovation initiative Invent Penn State, launched a multi-billion dollar philanthropy campaign called A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence and oversaw major reform to the Greek life system at Penn State.

Here’s how Barron’s pay stacked up to other Big Ten university presidents’ in 2018:

  • Northwestern University President Morton O. Schapiro, $1,617,258 (data is from 2016)
  • Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake, $1,206,751
  • Purdue University President Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., $926,559
  • Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, $909,185 (he also receives payment from IU Health not reflected in this total)
  • Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi, $870,644
  • University of Michigan President Mark S. Schlissel, $848,505
  • Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon, $782,700/Acting President William R. Beekman, $572,078
  • University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler, $724,668
  • University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones, $720,308
  • University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh, $685,090

  • University of Iowa President James Bruce Harreld, $623,056
  • University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca M. Blank, $544,950

  • University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie D. Green, $482,656
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