UConn President Susan Herbst CT Mirror file photo
UConn President Susan Herbst
UConn President Susan Herbst CT Mirror file photo

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst was the 12th highest-paid leader of a state flagship public university during the 2014-15 school year.

Among all 1,200 public college presidents included in annual rankings released Sunday by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Herbst came in 35th – up from 41st place two years earlier.

UConn’s presidential pay-to-tuition ratio was in the 80th percentile. The highest-paid public college president is Renu Khator of the University of Houston at $1.3 million.

Rankings for private college presidents are typically released later in the year.

Gregory Gray – the president at Connecticut State Colleges & Universities in 2014-15, who has since retired – was in 125th place.

Contributing to Herbst’s improved standings are the multi-year raises that the board awarded her in 2014. Herbst – the first woman president of UConn – started working at UConn in 2011 making less than her predecessor.

For the annual rankings, her compensation jumped from $575,000 in 2013-14 to $656,769 the next year. Those totals do not include the $38,000 the university pays to supplement her state retirement plan, the car and houses she is provided or deferred compensation. Herbst received a cumulative total of $125,000 in deferred compensation in 2016 for having stayed at the university for five years. Her pay is slated to increase to $831,070 by 2019.

Herbst was in 5th place compared to presidents at 11 similar universities, the Chronicle found.

Among flagships, only presidents at Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia were paid more than Herbst. Presidents at Maine, Montana and Alaska were paid the least.

Among all UConn employees, Herbst is the sixth highest-paid person, falling behind three sports coaches and two doctors who work at the UConn Health Center.

UConn Board of Trustees President Lawrence McHugh in a statement said Herbst is a “bold, decisive and innovative leader whose most important priority has been and continues to be building the academic quality of the university.”

“The board’s view was that if President Herbst excelled on the job, we would act to increase her compensation over time based on performance and merit,” he said. “For all the success that UConn has seen, make no mistake: there is still a great deal of work to do to elevate the university to a level it is capable of reaching. President Herbst continues to be the right person to lead UConn forward.”

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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