Updated March 23 at 9:23pm

Brown has best-paid local college leader

JWU’s Bowen gets 34% raise, pushing him to second place


PROVIDENCE – Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons was the highest-paid local college president in the 2007-08 school year, according to an analysis of federal tax returns by Providence Business News.

Simmons received $818,462 in salary and benefits during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, according to the university’s most recent income tax filing. Her total compensation increased 5.5 percent compared with the previous year, when she collected $775,718.

John J. Bowen, president of Johnson & Wales University, got the biggest raise last year among his 10 peers at private institutions in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.

Bowen was paid $635,275 in salary and benefits in the 2008 fiscal year, up 34 percent from the $474,097 he got the year before. That pushed his total compensation from fourth-highest to second-highest among local college presidents.

Bowen, who took the helm at JWU five years ago, saw his pay rise from $395,614 in 2007 to $532,403 in 2008. The category includes all salaries, fees, bonuses and any deferred compensation received, but excludes benefits and some other expenses.

In a statement, Johnson & Wales said the $635,275 total for Bowen reflected “unprecedented payments tied to contract renewal, benefit costs and expenses associated with his responsibilities as head of the university-wide system,” which has campuses in Providence, Miami, Denver and Charlotte, N.C.

The amount also includes bonuses reflecting Bowen’s length of service at the school, “the successful implementation of a strategic plan” and the fact that the university does not provide a residence for Bowen, Johnson & Wales said.

Third on the list of top-paid presidents was Richard I. Gouse of New England Institute of Technology in Warwick, who received $603,965 in total compensation in 2007-08.

Gouse, who has led New England Tech since 1971, was the only local college president to take a pay cut in the 2008 fiscal year as his total compensation fell 2.2 percent from the $617,395 he received the previous year.

Bryant University’s Ronald K. Machtley ranked fourth on the list. His compensation rose 3 percent from the previous year to total $546,553 in 2007-08.

In fifth place was Roger Williams University President Roy J. Nirschel, who received $471,800 in total compensation in 2007-08. That was up 12.1 percent from the previous year. RWU said part of the amount earned by Nirschel, whose daughter attends the school, went toward tuition remission.

Next came Rhode Island School of Design President Roger Mandle, who stepped down after 15 years as the school’s president in July 2008. Mandle’s earnings rose 15.2 percent to $431,037 in 2007-08, which was his last year as head of RISD.

Mandle’s successor, John Maeda, was paid $66,250 in the year ended June 30, 2008. That included per diem payments for transition work Maeda did and one month of salary in June 2008.

The president paid the least at the non-Catholic schools was Ronald A. Crutcher, president of Wheaton College in Norton. Crutcher, who joined Wheaton in 2004, received $377,273 in salary and benefits in 2007-08, up 4.4 percent from the year before.

The presidents of the three Catholic institutions in the area – Providence College, Salve Regina University in Newport and Stonehill College in Easton – are all members of religious orders and do not accept salaries, although two got benefits.

Sister M. Therese Antone, who was president of Salve Regina from 1994 until last June, received $33,810 for benefits and expenses in 2007-08, compared with $30,164 the year before. The Rev. Brian J. Shanley, president of PC since 2005, received $16,476 in benefits in 2007-08.

Stonehill College reported that its president since 2000, the Rev. Mark T. Cregan, received no financial compensation in the 2008 fiscal year.

The schools’ federal filings also offered a glimpse into how compensation breaks down among their employees.

Bryant had the largest share of employees paid more than $50,000, with 40 percent of its 1,126 workers making that much. Next came Brown, which reported 32 percent of its 5,716 employees earning more than $50,000. (The median income in Rhode Island was $55,701 last year, according to the Census Bureau.)

Next on the list were Salve Regina, which paid 31 percent of its 551 workers more than $50,000; RISD, which reported 29 percent at that level; and New England Tech, with 22 percent above that threshold.

After that came PC and JWU, both of which paid $50,000 or more to 21 percent of employees, and Wheaton and Stonehill, with 19 percent each.

Roger Williams ranked last, with 17 percent of its workers making $50,000 or more.


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Rhode Island is a small state with a lot of very good colleges and universities.

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