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September 9, 2020

Executive Compensation at Oberlin

by Anne Paddock

Oberlin College (Oberlin) is a liberal arts college (College of Arts and Sciences) and music conservatory (Conservatory of Music) with approximately 3,000 students in Oberlin, Ohio (about 40 miles southwest of Cleveland). Established in 1833, Oberlin has graduated Rhodes Scholars (16), Pulitzer Prize Winners (7), MacArthur Fellows (12), Truman Scholars (20), and Nobel Laureates (3).

Tuition, room, and board is nearly $80,000 (with health insurance) annually making a 4-year degree a total cost of $320,000. Oberlin awards about $60 million annually in the form of financial aid. According to the most recent available Form 990 (2016 for the year ending June 30, 2017), 2,710 students received $62 million, which equates to an average financial aid of $23,000.

Key facts about Oberlin include the following:

Oberlin has $1 billion in net assets as of June 30, 2017 (this was up from $945 million the year before).

Total revenue was $258 million, of which $154 million (60% of revenue) came from tuition and fees. An additional $40 million came from residential and dining services, programs, activities and auxiliary services.  $39 million came from gains on the sale of assets and investment income followed by $25 million in gifts, contributions, and grants.

Expenses totaled $231 million (not including $20 million in depreciation). The three largest expenses were compensation ($104 million), grants ($64 million including $2 million to foreign entities), and office and facilities expenses ($28 million).

3,901 employees were compensated $104 million, which equates to an average compensation of $27,000 (this appears low compared to other small liberal arts colleges:  $32,000 at Williams, $29,000 at Pomona, $40,000 at Villanova, $42,000 at Boston College, and $46,000 at Georgetown). 172 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation.

The 17 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $643,821:  Jainen Thayer, Chief Investment Officer
  • $552,956:  Marvin Krislov, President
  • $356,629:  William E Barlow, VP, Development and Alumni Affairs
  • $333.569:  Michael L Frandsen, VP, Finance
  • $276,734:  Marcia E Miller, Director of Investments
  • $276,310:  Andrea E Kalyn, Dean, Conservatory
  • $271,546:  Timothy E Elgren, Dean, Arts and Sciences
  • $263,152:  Steven F Wojtal, Professor
  • $260,682:  Sandhya Iyer, VP, General Counsel, and Secretary
  • $254,695:  Mark R Bates, Associate VP, Finance
  • $238,009:  Harry N Hirsch, Professor
  • $235,794:  Clayton R Koppes, Professor
  • $225,052:  Debra J Chermonte, Dean, Admissions and Financial Aid
  • $220,954:  John E Bucher, Chief, Technology
  • $219,185:  Michael M Nolan, Associate VP, Development/Dir Princ Gifts
  • $175,963:  Meredith L Raimondo, Interim VP/Dean, Student Life and Services
  • $158,961:  Mary Jo Diekman, Associate VP, Finance

10 of the 17 (59%) most highly compensated employees are male while 7 of the 17 (41%) are female (including the most highly compensated employee, Jainen Thayer who is the Chief Investment Officer.

Oberlin provides housing to the President and the Dean of Students.

Thomas Cooper, a trustee received $3,883,075 for “Inv in GMO and Emerging Country Debt Fund III.”

36 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The most most highly compensated were reported to be:

  • $9,794,797:  Albert M Higley Co of Cleveland, Ohio for construction
  • $2,624,603:  Marous Brothers Construction of Willoughby, Ohio for construction
  • $1,901,853:  Panzica Construction Company of Mayfield Heights, Ohio for construction
  • $1,084,721:  Simplex Grinnell LP of Strongsville, Ohio for fire safety services
  • $  823,400:  Industrial First, Inc. of Bedford, Ohio for construction

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

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