Claremont Presidents’ Pay Shows Large Disparities

According to 2019 Internal Revenue Service filings, the Presidents at the five colleges of the Claremont Colleges Consortium earn between $417,000 and $929,000 annually, reflecting compensation directly from the colleges and from related organizations. The Claremont Colleges are among the most exclusive and prestigious liberal arts colleges in the country; the presidents of the colleges are responsible for the organization and administration of their respective institutions, as well as recommending policies to the board of trustees. As heads of administration, many presidents of colleges across the country earn over $1 million annually.

Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh commands the highest salary at $929,000 in total compensation in 2018, similar to the compensation of Princeton’s President and closest to Ivy League compensations out of all the Claremont Colleges. Since becoming president in 2013, Chodosh has implemented a number of new programs, such as a new student program ensuring first-summer internships for all students on financial aid and the establishment of the CARE Center, “designed to foster understanding and mitigation of social division.” Under President Chodosh, CMC has been ranked 30 Forbes list of top colleges and universities in the country. 

Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe makes $703,000, the second-highest salary of any president after Chodosh. President Klawe is Harvey Mudd’s first woman president since its founding in 1965. She has held the position since 2006, during which time Harvey Mudd graduated more female than male physics majors for the first time in its history, and Harvey Mudd graduates have consistently outearned graduates from Stanford and Harvard. Ranked at number 23 among colleges and universities nationwide, Harvey Mudd has a reputation for intensely rigorous courses and a focus on STEM classes. Klawe also made more than Cornell’s President Martha Pollack during the same year; however, Pollack was only with Cornell for one year at that time. 

Scripps College President Larissa Tiedens earns $598,000 in compensation. Since becoming president of the college in 2016, President Tiedens has “implemented initiatives to promote innovative pedagogy, ensure a holistic student experience, cultivate a diverse and inclusive community, and forge strategic partnerships to amplify Scripps’ impact and influence on the advancement of women in society.” She has made it a priority to “[increase] the financial aid budget to expand support for underrepresented students” and “implemented the Presidential Scholarship Initiative to raise endowed support for scholarships.” Under President Tiedens, Scripps currently is ranked 60 among American colleges.

With a salary of $543,000, Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver earns the second-lowest compensation at the Claremont Colleges. Taking office in 2016, Pitzer has continued to be a leader in the field of social justice work, though controversies, such as the 2019 University of Haifa decision, have continued to arise. Pitzer holds the 54th spot in America’s top colleges. 

Despite being the highest-ranked and most prestigious of the Claremont Colleges, Pomona College’s president, G. Gabrielle Starr, who arrived at Pomona in 2017, earns $417,000 — the lowest among 5C presidents. Under Starr’s leadership, Pomona has begun “a strategic planning process to prepare for the future, and has launched a key initiative to support research and engagement in the humanities. In December 2018, the College announced plans for a new athletics and recreation center for health and wellness,” a plan that was put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pomona has consistently held a top spot among liberal arts colleges and ranks 12 among all colleges and universities in the nation.

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