Monday, November 20, 2006

How Much is Spanier Worth to You?

Last Friday a $25 million pledge to Penn State from Joan and William Schreyer was announced. The money is earmarked for support of the Schreyer Honors College. This gift, in the light of a recent University Faculty Senate Report on the Access and Affordability at Penn State (The report begins on page 9), raises some questions which I hope to deal with in the near future. However, the first thing which came to my mind when I heard the announcement was, "What is Spanier trying to distract the public from with this announcement?" Today I had my answer.

The Chronicles of Higher Education released its annual survey on pay of chief executive officers in higher education. This years Spanier's base pay was $545,016 which placed him third nationwide amongst public university presidents for base pay. The figure does not include benefits or other compensation because the University did not release this information. That's a pretty hefty sum for a president of a University which barely cracked the top fifty in the US News World Report rankings.

Strictly speaking, the timing of the announcement of the Schreyer gift wasn't so much intended to distract from the Chronicles survey, but rather to blunt its effect. That is the announcement was intended to pre-but any questions raised about whether Spanier was worth the money.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that no-one grasps the fact that PSU is not a "public university."

It has been a privately incorporate entity since 1855, and is not a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. It is also not operated by the state, it's budget is not determined by the state, and it receives more funding from sources other than the state.

The term "land grant" has nothing to do with public vs. private status, and more accurately refers to the provision of some financial assistance to schools that would offer practical education in agriculture and technology. Being named a "land-grant" institution does not imply ownership or oversight; it merely identifies that the state recognized PS as a school offering practical education programs and financially supported these programs according to the Morrill Acts.

I know some folks will adamately disagree, but the facts are objective; Penn State is privately incorporated and is not a 'public university.'