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Posted on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:43 p.m.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman requests a pay freeze; here's a list of presidential salaries around the Big 10

By Juliana Keeping

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has asked for a pay freeze due to Michigan's economy.

Coleman's salary will be frozen at last year's levels, which the U-M regents discussed at their meeting Thursday. Coleman earns a $783,850 salary package. It includes:

• $553,500 base salary • $75,000 deferred compensation • $100,000 retention bonus • $24,500 retirement pay • $30,850 supplemental retirement pay • A house and car

Information from 2007-2008 showed a total compensation package of $760,196, as well as a house and car.

At the U-M Board of Regents meeting, Coleman was praised for a number of initiatives completed under her leadership, including "The Michigan Difference," a fundraising campaign that raised $3.2 billion between May 2004 and December 2008. Coleman joined U-M in 2002 following six years as president at the University of Iowa.

Coleman is the fifth highest-paid public school president in the country, according to a 2009 article in Business Week that used survey data from 2007-2008.

But Coleman is not the top earner at U-M.

Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, the executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System since May, makes a $700,000 base salary with the ability to earn up to $150,000 annually if she meets certain performance goals. She'll be eligible for a merit increase to her base salary in 2010. 

In addition, Pescovitz receives $100,000 a year in a retirement account that will be vested after five years and received a one-time lump sum of $150,000 for transition costs. The money comes from health system resources, not the university's general fund.

Around the Big 10, Coleman is the third highest-paid college president, according to data from 2007-2008.

Here's a look at how college presidents stacked up recently around the Midwest.

1. Northwestern University: $1.7 million*

2. Ohio State University: $1.3 million

3. University of Michigan: $760,196

4. University of Minnesota: $697,213

5. Pennsylvania State University: $611,367

6.. University of Iowa: $583,000

7. Michigan State University: $572,000

8. Purdue University: $501,000

9. Indiana University: $484,000

10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: $427,500

11. University of Wisconsin-Madison: $358, 745

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2007-2008 data
*Northwestern University data from 2006-2007

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Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

Let's see, 5th highest paid president of a public university, 4th ranked public university. Seems about right to me. I love people who don't make a lot complaining about people who do. It's called market value. A lot of people are over paid, a lot more are under paid. It's called life. Last I checked we are not forced into a particular occupation in this country. If you chose a particular occupation or are in it because of decisions you made or skills you dont have, thats on you.

Matt Van Auker

Sun, Sep 20, 2009 : 4:29 p.m.

A sneakily written story from a sneaky reporter. lol. No, seriously, I fully agree. How much money do you really need to live. And, honestly, I don't think, at all, Mary Sue Coleman, is, at all, overpaid, given the pay of some of the coaches. Duh.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 6:29 p.m.

Lets eat the poor, thats not nearly enough pay for the best job in the world..


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 4:46 p.m.

According to Wikipedia: The President [of the United States] earns $400,000 per year, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 non-taxable travel account and $19,000 for entertainment." Looking at the salaries of Big 10 University presidents, I can't help but feel most are excessive. Being the president of a major research university is an honor and an opportunity to have far-reaching impact and be known and appreciated for it. I've even heard someone describe the job of being president of the University of Michigan to be the "best job in the world".


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 2:54 p.m.

To GeeWhiz "Her compensation is in line with running a multi-billion dollar organization." As WAS Kenneth Lay's at Eron,and a multitude of wall street CEO'S!!! She will bail on us as soon as she gets the right offer!


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 2:09 p.m.

@djm12652: It is technically a "non-profit" multi-billion dollar organization :LOL. Oh well, so are the Blue Cross insurance people who can't give the poor guy a break!

Juliana Keeping

Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 2:02 p.m.

I have updated this story with the latest total compensation info for President Mary Sue Coleman, provided by U-M.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:57 p.m.

Does Mary Sue actually think she can live off her $760,000?? I don't know, she may have to eat Hamburger Helper and clip coupons, like the rest of us. I make less than $30k/year and have had my wages frozen for a year AND I still make my house payment and car payment, something Mary Sue doesn't have to concern herself with. Dr. Pescovitz at UMHS should follow her lead.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:56 p.m.

As long as it's not a conservative multi-billion dollar organization...then it would be like stealing from poor people...capitalist pigs that they are...


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:52 p.m.

Relax guys/gals, She is not going anywhere. She is doing a terrific job at UM and her compensation is in line with running a multi-billion dollar organization.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 1:38 p.m.

Seriously...she is provided a home and a vehicle most people's two biggest cash outlays in addition to her total about instead of a pay freeze, a partial refund? If she is indeed heading out, how much priority will she place on her current duties?