Former President Cowen earns over $1M in 2012-13 year

Armando Marin, Online News Editor

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Former President Scott Cowen received $1,045,000 in total compensation, an 11 percent raise, during the 2012-13 fiscal year, Tulane’s most recent 990 tax return form. In addition, football head coach Curtis Johnson received $867,000 during his first year.

Compensation includes salary, as well as bonus, incentive compensation such as stock, money earned that will be received at a later date, benefits, and other forms of payment.

Cowen’s compensation increased by $105,000, an increase from his $940,000 compensation during the previous year. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2014 that Cowen was the 30th highest-paid president of a private university during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, who received $7.1 million, received the most compensation of any private university president. That same year, the highest compensated public university president was Penn State President Graham Spanier, with $2.9 million.

Executive Director of Public Relations Michael Strecker said the Compensation and Personnel Committee of the Tulane Board of Administrators decides on compensation based on compensation packages of peer institutions.

“The [committee] approves compensation packages for senior administrators of the university,” Strecker said. “The committee considers independent compensation surveys of comparable compensation levels at peer institutions for similar job descriptions.”

Cowen’s compensation is less than the compensations of several university presidents from peer institutions during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Morton Schapiro of Northwestern University and Nicholas Zeppos of Vanderbilt University each received approximately $1.3 million, and Richard Brodhead of Duke University and James Wagner of Emory University each received approximately $1.2 million.

Cowen was the highest-paid private president in Louisiana. Former LSU President John Lombardi received $550,000 in the 2012-13 academic year, according to an April 27, 2012 Nola.com article. Reverend Kevin Wildes of Loyola University New Orleans was the second highest-paid with $389,159 in total compensation. 

Other top earners in the Tulane administration include former Dean of the School of Medicine Benjamin Sachs, Professor of Clinical Orthopedics John Davis, Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery Thomas Yeh, Chief Investment Officer Jeremy Crigler and Executive Vice President for University Relations Yvette Jones. Sachs received $937,000, Davis received $786,000, Yeh received $744,000, Crigler received $595,000 and Jones received $579,000.

Sachs, Crigler and Jones all saw an increase in compensation from the 2011-12 fiscal year, by $33,000, $80,000 and $24,000 respectively. Yeh saw a pay decrease of $30,000, and Davis’ compensation was not reported on the 2011-12 tax return form.

Marjorie Cowen, Scott Cowen’s wife, also earned $112,000 for her service as a senior advisor and for work in institutional development.

Strecker did not respond to additional questions, such as the amount of President Michael Fitts’ compensation, in time for publication.