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February 12, 2020

Executive Compensation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2017)

by Anne Paddock

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private non-profit 501 (c) (3) college that specializes in engineering, technology, and the sciences. Located on 300 acres in Troy, New York, RPI also has two campuses in Connecticut – in Hartford and Groton. But, what also makes this institute well-known is its inclusion on lists of most highly compensated employees.

About 8,000 students (mostly undergraduate) attend RPI where annual tuition is about $54,000 plus about $20,000 for room and board bringing the total annual cost to $74,000. However, nearly 8,000 recipients received $187 million in non-cash tuition discounts (an average of $23,500).

Of the total revenue received in 2016 ($589 million), $187 million (or 31% of revenue) was used for tuition discounts. Total expenses were $517 million (not including depreciation) which means expenses did not exceed revenue. RPI had $443 million in net fund assets at year-end, an increase of $79 million from the beginning of the year.

RPI reported a total of 5,339 employees in 2016 at a total compensation cost of $197 million which equates to an average of $37,000 each (compared to Harvard who has an average compensation of $58,000). However, 354 individuals received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 18 most highly compensated listed below:

  • $2,163,756:  Shirley Ann Jackson, President
  • $   641,786:  Curtis N Powell, VP
  • $   519,003:  Prabhat Hajela, Provost
  • $   515,421:  Virginia C Gregg, VP
  • $  507,062:  John K Kolb, VP
  • $  491,605:  Jonathan Dordick, VP
  • $  471,337:  Thomas Begley, Dean, Lally School
  • $  448,301:  Graig East, VP
  • $  418,420:  Bill Francis, Professor
  • $  390,244:  Francine Berman, Professor
  • $  385,643:  Shekar Garde, Dean, School of Engineering
  • $  374,232:  Robert Linhardt, Professor
  • $  354,203:  Boleslaw Szymanski, Professor
  • $  351,933:  Claude Rounds, VP
  • $  346,112:  Jonathan Wexler, VP
  • $  323,013:  Frank Ross, VP
  • $  227,801:  Craig Cook, Secretary
  • $  211,327:  Richie Hunter, VP

The 18 individuals listed above were compensated a total of $9.1 million, which equates to an average compensation of $506,000.  15 of the most highly compensated individuals are men (83%) while 3 are women (17%).

The most highly compensated employee is a woman, Shirley Ann Jackson who received nearly $2.2 million in compensation (compared to $1.9 million to the President of Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust in 2016).

The President’s husband, Morris Washington received $248,097 in employee compensation in 2017 (although it is unclear why he was not on the list above). RPI pays for first class travel for the President and her companion although other executives may be approved for first class travel based on medical documentation. RPI also provides a residence for personal use or a housing allowance and pays for personal services. Although no detail is provided on the housing, certain staff of colleges are typically provided residences on campus and staff for events held at the residences.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2016 for the year ending June 30, 2017), click here.

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