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UB president's pay, benefits top local list But his compensation is less than at other public research universities

Pay and benefits for Alfred University President Charles M. Edmondson total more than $369,000.

Former Medaille College President Joseph W. Bascuas was receiving a $240,000 financial package before he resigned last October.

And salary and benefits for University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson totaled $402,600 last year.

That's how some of the area's college presidents are being compensated, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a national publication for college faculty and administrators.

The publication -- which annually tracks salaries of college presidents -- this week released its annual report, which includes 2006-07 figures from 186 public universities and 2005-06 salaries for 653 four-year private institutions.

Simpson, who took over at UB almost four years ago, is the highest-paid among local college presidents and also is given the largest compensation package among presidents at public research universities in the State University of New York system, according to the survey.

"The position of president at a major research university is as demanding as a CEO at a major corporation," said Marsha S. Henderson, vice president for external affairs at UB. "They work their job 24 hours a day, they're expected to be accomplished scholars, as well as accountable for academics, financing, even the athletics of a university."

Simpson earned $240,000 in public money and another $85,000 in private funds from the UB Foundation for a base salary of $325,000 during the 2006-07 school year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also counted Simpson's residence in the university's presidential home on LeBrun Road in Eggerstville as a $60,000-a-year value and calculated that he earned $17,600 in retirement pay last year.

The survey listed total compensation -- base salary, employee benefits and use of a vehicle and residence -- for several other local college presidents, including:

* Niagara University president, the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, $251,635.

* Canisius College president, the Rev. Vincent M. Cooke, $195,118.

* Daemen College president, Martin J. Anisman, $191,585.

* D'Youville College president, Sister Denise A. Roche, $172,538.

* St. Bonaventure University president, Sister Margaret Carney, $168,084.

The Catholic colleges pointed out that their presidents hand over their salaries to their respective religious orders, which in turn pay for their living expenses.

Niagara University officials noted it overstated the president's benefits package.

Henderson said it is unfair to compare the salary offered at UB -- the largest school in the SUNY system with more than 28,000 students -- with the rest of the local college pack.

"I think the compensation of the president of the University at Buffalo can only be [compared] with peer institutions, none of which are in the local market," Henderson said. "I think you'll find his compensation is in line, if not below, some of those places."

The Chronicle survey showed that to be the case.

"At public research universities, the minimum compensation among the big players is roughly $450,000," the publication reported.

Fifty-six of the 186 research institutions in the survey paid at least that amount, while almost all of the largest and best-known topped it, the Chronicle added.

The highest-paid public university president listed in the survey was David P. Roselle. Roselle, who retired earlier this year from the University of Delaware, received $874,687.

Presidents at private institutions made out even better. Eighty-one presidents at private institutions made more than $500,000, and a dozen earned $1 million or more, including benefits.

Richard Freeland, who stepped down in August 2006 at Northeastern University, was identified as the highest paid president, with $2,887,775 in total compensation, including $2,373,285 in benefits.

Still, not one of the top 10 highest pay presidents at public universities with Division 1 athletics programs earned as much as their school's football coach.

One example: University of Washington's football coach Tyrone Willingham pulled in $1.4 million, while President Mark A. Emmert came in at $752,700.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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