University News

Simmons’ compensation rose in 2010 after voluntary cut in 2009

By
Senior Staff Writer

Former President Ruth Simmons’ total compensation rose to $863,684 in 2010, a jump from $656,683 in the year prior when Simmons took a voluntary salary cut following the 2008 economic downturn. Simmons’ compensation in 2010 was closer to the levels seen in 2008 when her total compensation reached $884,771.

Salary and compensation figures for 2010 appear in the most recently released Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, which all nonprofits are required to file in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. The filing includes a list of the base salaries and total compensation for the University’s officers, directors, trustees and key employees in addition to the University’s endowment values.
Due to salary freezes and voluntary salary cuts in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis, the fluctuations between 990 filings for 2010 and 2008 do not represent any significant change in compensation trends, said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration.
It is important to look at the base salaries as well as total compensation, she said. Total compensation can include health insurance, deferred compensation, previously reported compensation and other benefits, such as the President’s house.
Simmons’ base compensation rose from $549,158 in 2009 to $606,306 in 2010. The number is less than the $611,139 Simmons made in base compensation in 2008.
The list included not just administrators, Huidekoper said, but employees who are considered to have “substantial influence” on the University.
The individuals on the list are considered “disqualified persons,” which means they would be imposed with sanctions if excessive compensation occurred, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The process the Corporation undertakes to determine the salaries for employees that make more than $225,000 relies on a number of determinants including comparative salaries at other universities, according to Huidekoper. This differentiates the decision-making process from the one for administrative salaries, which may be influenced by fluctuations in the capital market, she said.
Cynthia Frost, vice president and chief investment officer, made $1,098,265 in total compensation in 2010, an $86,914 increase from the $1,011,351 she made in 2009. Rajiv Vohra, former dean of faculty, made $570,333 in 2010, an $80,338 increase from $489,995.
“It’s about the IRS looking for transparency and to ensure that we’re operating efficiently and with integrity,” said Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations.

Correction Appended: An earlier version of this article stated that the Corporation determines salaries for employees that make more than $120,000. In fact, these considerations are for employees making more than $225,000. The article and graph also stated that the 990 form lists the highest paid University employees. In fact, the 990 form lists officers, directors, trustees and key employees. The Herald regrets the errors.