In the three years prior to his retirement, Knox President Roger Taylor ‘63 was the lowest paid chief executive among the 14 Associated Colleges of the Midwest schools.
From 2008 to 2010, he took home an average of $207,911 — 44 percent below mean compensation in the ACM — according to IRS documents.
Taylor, who helped steer the college from the brink of financial collapse, retired in June 2011 after serving nearly 10 years as president. He earned $214,691 in total compensation his final year at Knox.
A study by The Chronicle of Higher Education, which was released over winter break, looked at presidential salaries at 481 private, nonprofit colleges in 2010. In that report, Taylor was the 54th-lowest paid president in the country.
While salary data is not a direct indicator of a nonprofit’s financial health, it may provide insights into an organization’s highest earners, according to Jack Stripling, a senior reporter at The Chronicle.
“This kind of data is important because these are presidents of nonprofit institutions, which are given tax-exempt status by virtue of federal law,” he said. “With that status comes scrutiny and — some would argue — responsibility to be good stewards of the money they bring in.”
In some cases, comparatively low presidential salaries may indicate that a president returned portions of their bonuses or declined pay raises — especially since the economic downturn in 2008, he said.
“At cash-strapped institutions, [presidential pay increases] raise questions of fairness. If faculty don’t feel like they’ve been treated with equity, a president may begin to face a morale problem,” Stripling said.
The Knox Board of Trustees reviews presidential compensation each year. They take into account living costs, presidents’ salaries at similar colleges and compensation for the heads of local nonprofit groups, according to Knox tax documents.
Chair of the Board Duke Petrovich ’74 was not available for comment.
From 2009 to 2010, Macalester College’s Brian Rosenberg was the highest paid president in the ACM, earning $640,780 and $723,103, respectively.
Information on President Teresa Amott’s compensation is not yet available due to lag times in reporting requirements.
Salary data for Knox’s top earners in 2011 will be available in summer 2013, when Knox’s tax filings will next be released.