Zimmer’s salary shy of $1 million in 2007–8 fiscal year

President Robert Zimmer is almost a million dollar man.

By Michael Lipkin

President Robert Zimmer is almost a million dollar man.

According to tax records gathered by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Zimmer made $927,814 over the 2007–8 fiscal year, the most recent year for which data was available. The Chronicle published salaries and benefit packages from 419 colleges and universities as part of their annual report on academic salaries.

Zimmer was the 27th highest-paid president on the list, which included 22 executives making over a million dollars. The highest paid president was Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Shirley Ann Jackson, who made $1,598,247.

While the average university president’s pay increased 6.5 percent since last year, Zimmer’s fell slightly. His salary got a slight bump of $2,000, but his benefits package fell from about $440,000 to $424,000.

University spokesman Jeremy Manier said that the package includes deferred compensation, or a part of Zimmer’s salary that he can only draw from sometime in the future.

“Many organizations offer such packages as a way to retain presidents, who have financial incentives to stay with the organization and ensure its success,” Manier said in an e-mail. Zimmer’s benefits do not include housing expenses from living in the President’s House on 59th Street and University Avenue.

The University pays Zimmer about as much as its peers do, below Northwestern and above MIT. Last year, Zimmer was the 15th best-paid president, below Yale’s president and above the University of Southern California’s.

The Chronicle’s report, which took its figures from tax forms filed by each university, cautioned that this year’s numbers were from before the recession hit, and many presidents took pay cuts, froze their salaries, or donated a portion of their pay to charities after the financial meltdown last fall.

Zimmer said last May that his pay would remain the same. “We won’t be cutting personal pay,” he said. “Just like we’re not freezing salaries. But in all these cases, the amount available for salary increases won’t be what it has been.”