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Lahey earned nearly $3.8 million in 2012
President John Lahey’s total compensation more than tripled from 2011 to 2012. Lahey made nearly $3.8 million in 2012, an increase of more than $2.5 million from 2011, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lahey’s 2012 compensation rendered him the second-highest paid private university president in the country, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lahey’s 2012 compensation of $3,759,076 trailed only Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s President Shirley Ann Jackson, who received an income of more than $7 million.
Lahey earned $980,000 as his base pay in 2012, which is only a portion of his total compensation. Other figures include deferred compensation, nontaxable benefits and other pay.
But most of the money Lahey earned in 2012 came from his retirement plan, according to a statement from Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell. Bushnell said in a statement that Lahey was fully vested in his retirement plan after completing 25 years as president of the university. This meant he had to report an extra $2.8 million as “other pay.”
“In keeping with IRS [Internal Revenue Service] rules, he was required to report the full amount and pay the full tax on a retirement plan that will be paid out over 17 or more years after his retirement,” she said. “The university has never deferred compensation for any of its executives, including the president.”
The IRS taxes all parts of a person’s income that he or she earns. Since Lahey’s retirement plan was not deferred compensation, it is taxable and has to be reported.
Lahey’s compensation was fairly unchanged from 2011 to 2012, according to Bushnell’s statement.
“The 2012 report of total compensation is significantly higher than 2011 because of the one-time requirement to report on the vesting of his entire retirement plan,” Bushnell said.
Lahey’s total compensation has ranged from $1.1 million to $1.8 million between 2008 and 2011.
The personnel committee of the Board of Trustees determines how much money Lahey and other top university executives make, according to Bushnell. The committee looks at how much administrators at similar universities get. An independent compensation firm approves the list of comparable universities.
Lahey made about $3 million more than President Paul Gaffney of Monmouth University, which the Chronicle of Higher Education considers to be a comparable institution to Quinnipiac.
“The personnel committee sets salaries with an eye to attracting and retaining highly qualified and highly motivated executives, based on an annual review of agreed upon goals,” Bushnell said.
The Board of Trustees is composed of alumni, faculty and student representatives, 12 emeriti members and public members, including Lahey, according to the 2012-2013 university catalog. Lahey is not a part of the committee that decides his compensation, according to Associate Vice President of Public Relations John Morgan.
It would take 98.9 students paying the full cost of tuition to cover Lahey’s 2012 total compensation, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Junior Stephanie Silva was surprised when she saw how much President Lahey made in 2012.
“I mean I think he’s doing some great things for the university, but it is a little bit extreme,” she said.
Junior Taylor Gallicchio does not think Lahey deserves the nearly $3.8 million.
“[Quinnipiac’s] not really a prestigious school yet at least,” Gallicchio said. “If I think of a president making that much money, it’s a well-established university. This one’s still on the rise.”
The average professor makes about $125,900, and it would take 7.8 professors’ salaries to cover Lahey’s base pay, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Lahey has been the president of Quinnipiac since 1987, and has been working as president for 25 years, longer than the majority of the other high paid private university presidents.
Junior Stephanie Azzarello said she thinks the amount of money Lahey makes is outrageous.
“You come here and you know how much debt you’re going to be in when you get out so it seems a little bit unfair that we’re all going to be in all this debt and he’s just sitting there on [nearly] $4 million,” she said.
Junior Francesca Cannella believes Lahey must be doing something right in order to be making this much money, but believes the money could be used to make improvements around campus.
“If he’s making $3.8 million I’m sure that could go toward the dorm rooms and stuff like that,” she said.
Senior Vice President for Finance Patrick Healy earned more than $670,00 in 2012, while Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson earned more than $560,000. Other top earners included Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Donald Weinbach with more than $500,000 and Dean of the School of Medicine Bruce Koeppen with nearly $500,00.
UPDATED: 12/9 5:30 p.m. The original article stated that the university did not comment on if Lahey was on the personnel committee that determines his compensation. Lahey is not on this committee.
Sarah Doiron, Julia Perkins, Bryan Lipiner and Nicole Hanson contributed to this piece.