Bruininks fifth best paid in Big Ten

The “U” president’s total compensation, which included a state-provided car, was over $500,000.

Mike Rose

On Monday, the Chronicle of Higher Education released survey results of salaries and benefits for college presidents in 2006-2007, ranking University President Bob Bruininks fifth highest-paid compared to other public schools in the Big Ten Conference.

According to the study, Bruininks’ total earnings for the year add up to $544,490, which includes $160,269 retirement pay and one house provided by the state – a $91,890 total increase from 2005 to 2006.

Patricia Simmons, chairwoman of the Board of Regents, said the board often relies on “benchmarking” data from other Big Ten universities and other large institutions to gauge presidential salary.

“We’ve been aware of the rise of presidential salaries,” she said. “One of the factors we look at when setting the president’s compensation is what the market is.”

The board is most concerned with total compensation, which includes benefits such as houses and retirement assistance, rather than looking at salary data alone, Simmons said.

Bruininks has been under contract since December 2006 with his deal set to expire in 2011, Simmons said. However, the board reviews it yearly, she said.

“It’s kind of an ongoing process,” Simmons said. “We try to be tracking data along.”

Martin C. Jischke of Purdue University was the highest-paid president of any at a Big Ten university with a total of one car, one house and an $880,950 salary including additional compensations, according to the survey.

Gary Fethke, former interim president at the University of Iowa, ranked lowest-paid with a $324,050 salary, according to the survey.

However, Sally Mason took over the position as the university’s president in August, Steve Parrott, director of university relations at Iowa, said.

Mason was hired at a $450,000 salary, plus one house, one car and additional benefits, Parrott said.