Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine's salary remained significantly below the national median last year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual survey of university presidents' salaries.
The salaries of university presidents across the country generally grew--some by as much as 20 percent, the survey also showed.
Rudenstine's compensation, which includes salary as well as benefits, totaled $342,599 in the past fiscal year. The 1998-99 median salary for university presidents was $393,288.
While Rudenstine was among the 74 college presidents earning over $300,000, his salary is still nearly $50,000 below the median salary for university presidents.
Harry C. Payne, former president of Williams College, topped the charts as the highest paid president in 1998-99, receiving $878,222.
But Payne's compensation was not representative of the presidential salary at Williams College, according to James G. Kolesar, Williams spokesperson.
Payne was well compensated in part because the '98-'99 fiscal year was his last at the university, Kolesar said. The $878,22 also includes payments to be made over several years.
Judith Rodin of the University of Pennsylvania and L. Jay Oliva of New York University were the second and the third highest paid university presidents in 1998-99.
William R. Brody of Johns Hopkins University came in fourth with a salary of $ 645,710. Brody's overall compensation grew by over $100,000 last year due to a larger benefits package.
Dennis O'Shea, a Johns Hopkins spokesperson, justified Brody's increase in salary in terms of the president's increasing responsibilities.
"In the last few years, we've had changes in governing...resulting in more responsibility for the president," he said.
Indeed, officials at many universities argued that the amount of work shouldered by the university president should commands handsome compensation.
"I think that high presidential salaries are quite fair," said Harvard University spokesperson Joe Wrinn. "It's a complicated job...similar to operating a large institution or corporation, not just a school."
Rudenstine's salary, however, has not increased significantly in several years. Since 1993, Rudenstine's salary has increased by an average of 1.05 percent each year, compared to a 20 percent increase in Rodin's salary just within the last academic year.
"I just don't believe people in my position should be paid four or five hundred thousand dollars," Rudenstine told The Crimson last year.
"President Rudenstine has made a conscious efforts not to have his salary expand exponentially," Wrinn said. "He is cognizant--because of his personal makeup--to keep it at a fair level."
University officials would not disclose the components of Rudenstine's benefits package. Rudenstine's benefits were valued at $27,599.