Lahey’s $1.8M tops in Connecticut

2008 earnings spiked by home renovations, school says

By on November 17, 2010

President John Lahey ranked sixth on the list of top 10 highest-earning presidents of private colleges in 2008, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lahey raked in $1,845,427 in total compensation according to the report, released on Sunday. That number includes salary, but also health benefits, personal services and deferred pay.

“President Lahey’s salary for 2008-2009 was $765,000,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “The higher reported total compensation number resulted from a large one-time reimbursement for major repairs and renovations to the president’s 23-year-old house which is used extensively for university events.”

Bushnell said accounting rules require reimbursements like the renovations to be treated as personal income for the president.

One of the top earners in the country in 2008, Lahey was the highest-paid president of all Connecticut colleges and universities. Yale University President Richard Levin’s compensation was second, coming in at $1,530,008.

Lahey received $542,080 in salary and benefits in 2006, at the time making him “one of the highest-paid leaders among his peer institutions,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

This most recent list is made up of 448 private-college presidents, 30 whose income totaled more than $1 million, whereas the last report listed 23. The Chronicle reported none in 2004’s list.


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  1. Caleb Gindl

    November 17, 2010 at 10:30 am

    What did he “earn” in 2009-10?

  2. anonymous

    November 17, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Lahey just keeps digging himself deeper between his announcement of the new diversity director and now this.  Are his home renovations the reason why our tuition was hiked last year? How can $1 million in renovations be justified? In the original article it said that he renovated his house because it’s used for so many university events. I would love to see a list of all the events held at his house. I would also be interested to see how many faculty and staff members have attended these events at his home.
    If Lahey gave up just a couple tens of thousands of dollars (which is apparently just pocket change for him) he can bring back the boys athletics programs that were cut for “budgetary reasons.”
    Don’t get me wrong. Lahey has implemented some very smart business ideas at the university, i.e. the Quinnipiac Poll which has proved to be a great PR move and also gotten our name in newspapers across the country. Unfortunately, now we’re making headlines for the wrong reasons.

    • parent of QU students

      November 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      I would hope that any student at Quinnipiac would recognize the term, return on investment. The investment that we have made in President Lahey has been returned at a rate that would shame most large for profit schools.

      All universities have increased their tuitions. Faculty and staff must be paid and the university’s campus must be maintained.

      Quinnipiac University has been making headlines for many many positive things not just for the QU Poll.

      I feel that he has done a great job increasing the prominence and reputation of the school which in turn benefits each student who receives a degree from Quinnipiac.

      • yaright

        November 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

        Thanks for chiming in, President Lahey! I didn’t know your kids go here too?!

  3. Anonymous

    November 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I have been to 3 events at the President’s home in the past 2 years. Every year he has an entire faculty/staff party hosted by him and his wife at the home. It is constantly used to entertain and host things. You are ignorant if you think a tuition hike was done for his house renovations. Take a look at national tuition rate increases last year. Quinnipiac was among the lowest. It was necessary due to the unstable economy, and uncertainty of the endowments performance, which in fact Lahey announced has earned 17%+ in one year.

    Grow up and stop complaining. Realize he has done more good at this university than anything. The reason we are able to afford things like renovations to the UNIVERSITY OWNED presidents house, is because he has done things like open a medical school, expand to 3 campuses, achieve national accreditation, but most importantly, kept the school in great financial health.

    • anon

      November 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      I agree Lahey, for all his flaws, has been a boon to our university. However, while his house might be owned, most Presidents who have a university owned home actually live on campus. My brother and father, who both went to Williams College, and my mother and her family, who all went to Columbia University schools all got to actually engage in day to day interaction with their presidents, because their houses were on campus. Their presidents also had events open to the student body in their on-campus houses. Lahey seems to avoid the student body, which I think is a part of the controversy surrounding this. But consider: 1.8 million dollars?? Maybe $.8 million from QU’s coffers could have gone to, say, increasing cell phone service up at York Hill, or fixing the shuttle service, or to student orgs who need that money if Lahey doesn’t want to live near his students and faculty. I mean, there should be some “high quality” space somewhere on our three campuses, right?

    • Anon

      November 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      The question is not whether he has done good things for QU. It is clear that he has. The question isn’t even whether those good things outweigh the bad, something that isn’t as clear (good PR is not just getting your name in the paper).

      The question is whether, at a time when elements vital to the development of the university, spending a million dollars on improving the private home of the president is a sound financial decision. This for a school that is leveraged to the hilt already. Think of what a million dollars could do for classrooms that need refurbishing, or new computer labs for classes that seem to be growing in size each year.

      There is something wrong when the president of a college brings home the salary of 10 professors, and when he then gets a bonus of a million dollars on top of that for his personal residence. It doesn’t just look bad, it demonstrates a lack of appropriate values for a non-profit educational institution. Is Lahey really twice as good as the presidents of places like the University of Wisconsin? No.

      So, when Quinnipiac calls and asks for money, I guess I’ll just have to ask whether I get my name on a new toilet seat. I’d give money gladly to something that helps educate students. Remember? What colleges are supposed to be for?

  4. Another Parent

    November 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    As a parent, this seems like a great example of how and where QU has lost touch with reality and common sense. While it’s true that the enhancements to Lahey’s home likely wouldn’t have impacted tuition, how is it that the university is blind to the message that is sent to those who struggle with tuition and living expenses, or to those whose activities can’t be funded adequately?

    Could some of that money have been spent on creating a shuttle to a campus that has no shuttle services (North Haven)? Could it be used to help fund activities or resources that are in alignment with the interests of the student body? Had any thought been given to expanding or upgrading dorm facilities that require that three students occupy a room designed for two?

    As one of his disciples pointed out in another response, the university is expanding. Well, let’s see how many students choose to attend a school that is so spread out with such poor transportation in the coming years. Let’s see if there is actually a need or demand for a Medical School. Let’s see if, as that writer pointed out, that strong financial performance is the “most important thing”. I would think quality of education and quality of life would come first, but what do you expect for $50K a year?