Knapp’s pay in final year as president ranked No. 12 among private college executives

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Knapp stepped down as GW's president in 2017 and will leave the University next month to serve as president of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Former University President Steven Knapp clocked in as one of the highest compensated private college officials in his last year in office.

Knapp, who earned about $1.95 million in 2017, was ranked No. 12 out of more than 600 chief executives at private colleges and universities in the United States, according to a report published by The Chronicle of Higher Education Tuesday. Knapp stepped down as president in 2017 and will leave GW’s faculty next month to head the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

The Chronicle’s report compiles compensation data from Form 990s – tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service by universities to maintain tax-exempt status. Knapp’s compensation included about $728,000 in base pay and about $1.05 million in “other pay,” according to tax documents.

A University spokeswoman said earlier this year that a “portion” of Knapp’s compensation was deferred compensation from his tenure as president.

Former University President Stephen Trachtenberg, who served as president twice as long as Knapp, earned more than $3.5 million during his final seven months as president in 2007, including about $2.98 million in deferred compensation and accrued sabbatical leave, according to financial documents from fiscal year 2008.

Knapp’s ranking in 2017 was his highest placement since at least 2013. He ranked No. 39 in 2016 – when he earned about $1.24 million in salary – and No. 35 in 2015.

University President Thomas LeBlanc clocked in at No. 92 on the ranking, earning nearly $767,000. A University spokeswoman said last year that LeBlanc’s pay is determined by the Board of Trustees based on market data and analysis provided by an independent compensation consulting firm.

The report from the Chronicle is the first that includes LeBlanc’s compensation since he arrived at GW in August 2017.

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