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Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman donates $17.6K raise to scholarships

By Kellie Woodhouse


Mary Sue Coleman donated her three precent raise to scholarship.

Melanie Maxwell I

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman donated her $17,574 raise to study abroad scholarships on Thursday.

The raise amounted to a 3 percent increase in base pay, bringing her base salary to $603,357.

"I am very well compensated," Coleman said as she donated the raise, which was approved by the U-M Board of Regents during a meeting Thursday.

She also received a 2.75 percent raise in September 2011, and donated it to a scholarship fund that year as well.

Coleman earned $933,000 in compensation and benefits in 2011, according to information obtained by through a Freedom of Information Act.

In addition to her base salary, she earns a $100,000 yearly retention bonus, $175,000 in annual deferred compensation and $50,000 in annual retirement pay. She also receives the use of a car and residence.

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Regent S. Martin Taylor

"We’ve looked at all the publications, the benchmarking, what's being done, best practices etcetera... the base salary of the president is certainly not out of line in terms of being too high," said regent S. Martin Taylor. "If anything it is too low."

Coleman was the fifth-highest-paid public college president in the U.S. during the 2010-11 academic year, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey.

Coleman also serves on the executive boards of Johnson & Johnson and Meredith Corporation. She took home $425,400 in 2011 for her service on those two boards, according to a Chronicle database derived from U.S. Exchange Commission filings.

Since Coleman began as president in 2002, her base pay has grown by more than $127,000.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Jay Thomas

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

I think being President/CEO of this university is a full time job and moonlighting should be precluded. The regents as far as I can see have all "gone native" and just want to go along to get along. I have no idea what any of their goals were in running for those offices.

Gretchen Ridenour

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

Ms. President, thank you for living your values and for the generosity of your donation. I know your kindness will be appreciated by those who wish to study abroad. Hats off to you!


Sat, Sep 22, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

Sue Ann Coleman is way overcompensated for what she does and she knows it. Why doesn't she tell them to take whatever raise they plan to give her and put into the scholarship fund prior to her receiving it? Because she wants to write it off on her taxes and receive the extra retirement contribution from the university first. Then she makes sure everyone knows she's making the donation and takes credit for being so generous for giving a measly $17,500 out of a million dollar yearly compensation. That's like someone who has a hundred thousand dollars donating $175.00, or someone who has ten thousand donating $17.50. Big freaking deal! Especially since her main expenses of housing and auto are already paid for!


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

How much is too much? This is completely ridiculous, Coleman receives base pay of 603,375 dollars, 100,000 dollars retention bonus, 175,000 dollars deferred compensation, 50,000 dollars annual retirement pay, residence to live in and free transportation. Coleman doesn't even give U of M 100% of her time, she is employed by Johnson & Johnson and Meredith making an additional 425,400 dollars a year. Why is she employed by Johnson & Johnson and Meredith? Apparently her U of M Million dollar a year compensation is not enough. Indeed, Martin Taylor believes Coleman's compensation is "if anything it is too low" Shameful GREED, don't tell about what other may earn, why do we always have to compare ourselves to others. Is it really necessary to pay a Million dollars a year?


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

This woman is getting raises? That's truly unbelievable. The bigger story here is who the other hopelessly out-of-touch incompetents are, other than Martin Taylor, who suggest and then approve these raises. This is the woman who oversees an organization that failed to report child pornography belonging to a medical resident for more than six months, and then only did so because they were afraid of steeling the spotlight from Penn State, all barely a year ago. This is public money these regents are throwing around, and to somehow praise Coleman for giving it away, instead of refusing to accept it in the first place, is seriously misguided. Also, the paper should be reporting who voted in favor and who, if anyone, was opposed.

Jay Thomas

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

I couldn't agree more. doesn't seem very interested in what the Regents do at all. They should be reporting on their votes the way they do the city council.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

A million dollars a year and all she can donate is $17k? Yeah, she is the most generous person in the world! Ann Arbor should make her queen for the day...


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Where does it say she doesn't donate anything else?


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 10:38 a.m.

Her retirement pay sounds low. If she is in the University TIAA-CREF retirement program then she is getting $2 for every $1 she contributes up to 5% of her salary. I can't believe she isn't contributing the maximum to that.


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 10:05 a.m.

If she is going to donate her raises, it is actually costing the U MORE vs. them just putting the money into scholarships since they have to pay social security tax (employer's contribution) and her bonus and other things are calculated off base salary. And of course she gets to deduct the donation. Her salary is NOT "too low" as S. Martin Taylor states. This is a public university.

music to my ear

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

atta girl Mary


Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

You people are amazing. A donation is a donation. Shouldn't we be thankful?

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Readers: A sentence in this story has been corrected to clarify that Coleman was the fifth-highest-paid PUBLIC college president in the U.S. during the 2010-11 academic year, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey.

Linda Peck

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Wonderful news! I like hearing about such generosity and praise President Coleman for doing this!

Evan Smith

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

"Coleman was the fifth-highest-paid college president in the U.S. during the 2010-11 academic year" This is absolutely not true. Please recheck your source.

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Thanks Evan, what I failed to include was "public" college president. We regret the error and the sentence has been fixed to include public. Thank you for picking up on that.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Good for her. When someone does something good that they didn't have to do, that's worth noting.