GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg receives the 10th-highest total compensation among the nation’s university presidents, according to a study released last week by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Trachtenberg said he had hoped he would not make the top 10 list and said he feels uncomfortable that his two college-age sons know how much money he makes.
“I have no interest in being in the top 10 and calling attention to myself,” he said. “Most people have some privacy about such matters. My kids have been reading about my compensation since they were children.”
The Chronicle listed Trachtenberg’s salary at $385,241 and his total compensation as more than $400,000 in 1996-’97, marking the first time he made the list of 10 highest paid presidents. Torsten N. Wiesel of Rockefeller University in New York City receives the highest compensation at $546,966.
Trachtenberg said he made the list this year because other university presidents who received a larger salary have retired in recent years, and he received a bonus that transferred to 1996-’97 and was included in the tabulations. The compensation figures do not include certain amenities such as free housing, which Trachtenberg and many other presidents receive.
Trachtenberg said he deserves the compensation because of his 22 years of experience as a university president, beginning at the University of Hartford and then GW.
He said his salary partially is determined by the salaries of presidents at similar universities, and he works to get a salary that keeps him out of the top 10.
Trachtenberg said he has received three loan requests from friends since the salaries were released.
“I get a lot of kibitzing,” he said.
Trachtenberg said he also has received congratulations from faculty members.
“The institution is doing well and I think the faculty knows that I’ve been looking after their financial interests,” he said. “We get very little grousing about faculty salaries.”
Although Trachtenberg said he does not want the attention, he said he appreciates the acknowledgment the ranking gives him.
“There’s no disgrace in being in the top 10,” he said.