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Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

University of Michigan chief 5th-highest paid public university president in nation

By Kellie Woodhouse


Mary Sue Coleman

Jeffrey Smith |

Mary Sue Coleman was the fifth-highest paid public university president in the nation during fiscal 2010-11, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education database.

The University of Michigan president's compensation was $845,000 from July 2010 to June 2011. That includes $570,105 in base pay, $175,000 in deferred compensation and $100,000 in yearly bonus compensation. It does not include roughly $50,000 a year in retirement pay or her use of a U-M-provided car and house.

It also doesn't include the 2.75 percent raise she received this year, which brought her salary to $586,000. Coleman donated that raise to international scholarship. tallied her full compensation package at more than $910,000 in December, not including the house and car.


Mary Sue Coleman stands with students during a January speech on college affordability by President Barack Obama at the University of Michigan.

The Chronicle ranked Coleman's fiscal 2011 compensation package behind the presidents of Ohio State, Texas A&M and Pennsylvania State universities and the University of Kentucky.

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee made $1.99 million during fiscal 2011. Michael D. McKinney, Texas A&M president, made $1.97 million. McKinney retired in 2011 and his earnings include $683,000 in terminal pay.

Ranking behind Coleman were the presidents of Texas Tech University, the University of Texas, Virginia Tech University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Delaware and Auburn University.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon made $520,000 in fiscal 2011. Simon received only base bay and did not earn deferred or bonus compensation.

The Chronicle’s analysis of 190 top public colleges found the median total compensation for presidents during fiscal 2011 was $421,000, up about 3 percent from the previous year. The Chronicle reported in December that the median compensation package for a private college president is $386,000.

Coleman's base salary began at $475,000 when she was first appointed in 2002 and has grown by more than $100,000 since then. Coleman's predecessor Lee Bollinger, now the chief at Columbia University in New York City, earned $326,000 in base compensation during his last year at U-M. The Chronicle reported Bollinger's salary at $1.53 million in 2009.

Salaries for top-paid private university presidents continue to outpace salaries for their counterparts at public schools. According to the Chronicle database in 2009 the president of Drexel University earned $4.9 million, the president of Johns Hopkins University made $3.9 million and the president of Yale University made $1.6 million. Total 2009 compensation for Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, was $875,000.

Coleman is reported to make about $230,000 for sitting on the board of Johnson & Johnson and another $137,000 for belonging to the board of Meredith Corporation, a media and marketing company.

She has led the university since 2002. During that time the school's endowment has more than doubled and at $7.8 billion it is one of the highest of any public university. Recently, she launched a new program that will invest endowment funds in university start-ups. Tuition has also substantially increased at U-M and at public universities across the state. Last year U-M students saw a 6.7 percent tuition hike, an increase on par with Michigan's average. U-M's out-of-state tuition rate is the highest of any public school.

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


Bertha Venation

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

and she doesn't even to type her own letters.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Just remember that the Board of Regents lifted the age restrictions for the University President a few months ago so MSC is free to be the pres as long as she wishes. If it were me, I too would want to sit on two Boards and be the pres of this University for life.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Sadly the split between the average worker and the management continures to grow, compounded by every raise, bonus and perk given to those at the top. Meanwhile the peons have to pay for the privledge to park at the U and for sure do not get a free car.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

I think we need to pay her more than the Ohio State president - we can't have president bow-tie make more than her.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

AND you complain about the police wages, when they lay their life on the line daily?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

I see that Coleman sits on the boards of two corporations. In my view corporations should be kept at arms length from the university. This is especially true of public institutions whose research priorities should be dictated by interests of the public in general and/or the research priorities of scientists. Corporations should not be setting research priorities. Big money in the universities has created a situation in which research and education are viewed from a cost benefit perspective and the university behaves like an arm of the corporation. Faculty members have less and less autonomy and act and behave more and more like production workers which is how they are treated. Problem is most of them feed off the fiction that pay is a measure of their worth and status when the reality is they are intellectual prostitutes serving the interests of their corporate masters.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Where is the National Association of Gals? If she was a man, she would be making 18% more! Just ask Brady Hoke or David Brandon Both who makes a lot more than her!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

And they're as much a part of the problem as is Jamie Dimond and our past city administrator Roger Fraser.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

I 'll bet she goes to sleep at night without a care in the world!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

I'm sure she worries about losing access to the gravy train.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

All executives at this level, and I mean ALL, Public and Private are overpaid and underworked. The worst of it is that evert single one of them, ALL of them, continue to spread the myth that if you want top executive talent, you have to continue to pay them exhorbitant amounts of pay, benefits and extra perks. The corporate style executive pay spiral that has spread to the public sector, that merry go round that only the few and well connected can afford to get on, MUST STOP!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Everyone knows that the deck is stacked and the "reasoning" you use is as much a aprt of the executive compensation scam as is the compensation. It appears that you are well practiced at spouting the Republican Party approved Chamber of Commerce talking points about the "job creators" and the value they bring to the economy. Hogwash and everyone knows it.

wolfman jack

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Really ? How many $100 M deals do the rank and file close ? Want an egalitarian organization where the workers and management are paid equally (say ..within one or two STD DEV): then start one. Nothing stops you. Fees for a LTD corp in Michigan run under $100 initially for under fifty or sixty thousand shares. You as founder can reserve some portion of those to be held in trust on behalf of the employees as well. Nothing stops you. In business, we measure success by money. If you want to motivate your firm by something else - then please do. There is an opening for it. Clearly there are many skilled individuals in Ann Arbor that share your outlook. It should work for you. The public model is endorsed at present by those of us participating in corporate ownership. You can easily run a firm of your founding by some other means without we capitalists to participate. Go to it. You outcry does nothing. We participants in corporate ownership influence outcomes with our shareholder votes. If you choose not to start your own firm, you can always buy a controlling interest in some other going concern and introduce your compensation guidelines from control of the board. This option has always been available to anyone allowed to trade equity securities in the US. ( Some have been banned by the SEC for "cheating" - as you know).


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

Is this an example of "the rich get richer?"

Silly Sally

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

As she most likely chanted in the 1960s about LBJ and Vet Nam, we should say about her, and the disgrace of the Univ Hospital thumb drive debacle, "Hey, HEY, ho, HO, Mary Sue Coleman has got to GO..." Not just the little people.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

As if you have any knowledge of what Ms Coleman did in the '60s.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

good screen name.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

where is the outrage from the class war fare crowd. She is a figure head. oh that's right she's not in the union so it's cool.

rusty shackelford

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

Given that she oversaw the increase of the U's endowment by something like $3 BILLION, I'd say the U and the state got a bargain.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Key word is "oversaw". AS if there aren't any other money grubbing execs who would have done the same thing, gotten the same results as they padded their bloated bank accounts and looked for ways to increase their pay tenfold at their next job. Or could it be that the UM, the institution itself, attracts these kind of donations and endowments regardless of who's in charge? ANd just how sustainable is this kind of greed? What happens when the donors and sugar daddies dry up? Raise tuition again?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Amazing that you attribute the investing acumen of the endowment's investment management team to Mary Sue Coleman. Next thing we'll hear is that she built the Mott Children's facility - by hand, and without overtime compensation.

Silly Sally

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

Oh, yea, great "leadership", the disgrace of the Univ Hospital thumb drive debacle. Then the RIchard Nixon style cover-up of it all. If not for Penn State Football, she would have been successful. Some "Bargain" It was not Mary Sue who made the investment decisions for the indowment.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 11:01 a.m.

My first thought: This is an OUTRAGE!! Then I read the article and I'm ok with this.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

So, you're okay with it because so many other presidents are overpaid? Or are you making a joke?!

Morris Thorpe

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

You're doing it wrong and you ought to know better. We're internet commenters. We've agreed to read the headline, skip to the comments and then - overreact!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

What color parking sticker does she have?


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Diamond. It allows her to park in the middle of the street at all hours.


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 10:46 a.m.

While the rest of us make do with pay cuts and increased tuition costs.............


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 10:15 a.m.

Seems about right compared to peer institutions.