MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — The nearly $1 million salary that put Ball State
University President Jo Ann Gora among the country's highest-paid public
college leaders didn't come during a typical year, school officials said.
The survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education lists Gora's 2011-12
compensation at nearly $985,000, the fifth-highest nationally and far
ahead of the presidents at Indiana and Purdue universities.
Gora's pay for that year included some $500,000 in deferred compensation
and incentives on top of her base salary of about $430,000. Much of that
came from a retention incentive for staying at Ball State for five years,
from 2007 to 2011, university spokesman Tony Proudfoot said.
Gora has averaged about $436,000 in pay over her nine years as president,
Hollis Hughes Jr., president of the Ball State Board of Trustees, called
Gora's pay an anomaly that reflected "unusual circumstances."
"We certainly don't overpay our president," Hughes told The Indianapolis
In 2011, about 36 percent of college and university presidents had
deferred-compensation agreements, said Terry Hartle, senior vice president
of the American Council on Education.
He said he wasn't surprised by Gora's pay package for leading the Muncie
campus of about 18,000 students.
"If I were them, I would very much want to ensure that Jo Ann stays at
Ball State instead of leaving," Hartle said. "Ball State is a very
different institution than it was when she arrived. I think it's a far
stronger place with a much bigger national profile. ... I completely
believe she is worth it."
David Pearson, an associate professor of exercise science and chairman of
Ball State's University Senate, also defended Gora's pay.
"If people would see the university as the major corporation that it is,
she is vastly underpaid in comparison with other similar CEOs," Pearson
told The Star Press. "Why don't you report how many million dollars she
has raised in the face of cuts from Indy to help BSU?"
The Chronicle's survey listed Indiana University President Michael
McRobbie with $653,258 in total compensation, putting him 32nd among the
public college leaders. Then-Purdue University President France Cordova
ranked 64th with $550,250.