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Vest's $312,000 Compensation Is Second Largest at Institute

By Kristen Landino
Staff Reporter

President Charles M. Vest was the second-highest paid individual at the Institute last year, receiving $312,000 in pay and benefits.

Figures for MIT showed that Alan S. Bufferd '59, deputy treasurer and director of investments, was the Institute's highest-paid employee, receiving a total compensation package of $378,000 in 1996-97.

Individuals rounding out the top five highest-paid employees at MIT were Walter E. Morrow '49, director of the Lincoln Laboratory and institute professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Glenn P. Strehle '58, vice president for finance and treasurer; and Edward B. Roberts '57, management and technology professor.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the presidents of three universities earned more than $500,000 in pay and benefits for 1996-97.

Topping the list were Torsten N. Wiesel of Rockefeller University; Joe B. Wyatt of Vanderbilt University; and Judith S. Rodin of the University of Pennsylvania.

Survey results were based on data from Internal Revenue Service Form 990 returns filed by 475 private colleges in 1996-97. Colleges were asked to include information concerning salary and benefit figures as well as information on lobbying expenditures.

Salaries continue to rise

Compensation in 1996-97 continued to follow a rising trend. In the latest survey, 46 college presidents received compensation exceeding $300,000, whereas last year only 34 presidents did.

The steady rise in university presidents' salary concerns Patrick McCallan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. He said public opinion disfavors higher salaries.

"We are in a period where public concerns about the cost of higher education have led to congressionally mandated commissions and regulatory oversight," McCallan said.

Leaders at the highest-paying universities say that their pay scales are comparable to peer non-collegiate institutions.

However, Marcus S. Owens, head of the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations Division, said "Measuring reasonable compensation is more an art than a science." He added that universities need to evaluate what skills and experience an individual brings to his or her job.