Columbia University's President Lee Bollinger had compensation of $1,753,984 in 2008 from the university, the New York Times reports today.
Some of that ($325,000 a year, actually) is the occupancy value of his residence, which he uses for official university functions and which has a high value because it, and Columbia, happen to be in New York City, where real estate is expensive compared to other parts of America.
But even so, it's a lot of money for a non-profit executive. I wonder how many of the alumni donors to Columbia, many of whom make a lot less than $1,753,984 a year, realize that their gifts aren't just paying for scholarships for needy, deserving students, but that they are also flowing to Mr. Bollinger to the tune of $1,753,984 a year? And how many of the congressmen voting for more Medicare and Medicaid funding for Columbia's medical-school-affiliated hospital, and for more Pell Grant and federal student loan money for Columbia students, realize that Mr. Bollinger is taking out that much a year?
I'm not saying it's not a big job, or that Mr. Bollinger doesn't work hard at it or do a good job at it. No one is forcing anyone to attend Columbia or to give money to the school. Columbia's Form 990 says Mr. Bollinger works 60 hours a week, and that his pay is lower than the $3,280,541 a year (or $2,445,745, depending on how you account for it) Columbia paid its chief information officer of investment management, Peter Holland, and lower than the $5,374,239 a year earned by a Columbia dermatologist, Dr. David N. Silvers. The Form 990 also indicates that included in Mr. Bollinger's compensation is the money the university pays for "certain medical, dental, and disability insurance premiums," including "a tax gross-up on that amount."