Public University Presidents Rake in Millions Disgraced former Penn State boss Graham Spanier leads the pack By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted May 13, 2013 7:01 AM CDT 16 comments Comments In this Nov. 7, 2012, file photo, former Penn State president Graham Spanier enters Harrisburg District court in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Jason Minick, File) (Newser) – Last year, four public university presidents boasted compensation of more than $1 million, a study finds. At the top: Graham Spanier, the former Penn State president driven out by the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Spanier made $2.9 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year; part of that was his $1.2 million severance pay, the New York Times reports. "The fact that Graham Spanier turns out to be the highest paid president in the country says something about the nature of compensation packages for people who leave under a cloud," says a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, which conducted the study. Meanwhile, Jay Gogue, at Auburn University, saw compensation of $2.54 million. Ohio State's Gordon Gee earned $1.9 million—along with his rent-free mansion and private jet. George Mason's Alan Merten received $1.87 million. Compensation has soared in recent years, says the Chronicle reporter; Gogue's pay, for instance, jumped from $700,000 to $2.5 million in a year. And 28 presidents were making between $600,000 and $700,000 last year, compared to 13 the prior year. Median compensation among public research university presidents was $441,392.