Lehman Keeps Presidential Compensation After Stepping Down

November 13, 2007

It is mid-November, time for The Chronicle of Higher Education to release executive compensation numbers. The Cornell Daily Sun article sums up the relevant info nicely:

After stepping down as Cornell’s 11th president, Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77, who left office under controversial circumstances, was compensated $785,518 for the 2005-06 fiscal year — over $75,000 more than then-Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III. … Lehman’s post-job compensation in 2005-06 was more than all the Ivy presidents, except Yale University President Richard Levin, who earned $869,026.

As you may remember, Lehman made over $1 million in 2004-05, the most in the Ivy League. Rawlings took over as the president on July 1, 2005.


Cornell Alumni Magazine Mentions Jeff

October 2, 2007

This blog has reached a new level. It finally received coverage in a printed publication. And not just any publication, but Cornell Alumni Magazine (you may find the full story on page 33 of the September/October 2007 issue). The article by Michael Morisy ’07 mentions:

The creator of a fake Facebook profile purporting to represent former President Jeffrey Lehman ’77 writes a widely read blog where he comments on the intersections of social networking and higher education, often with a Cornell twist.

Cornell Alumni Magazine happens to be the most widely circulated Cornell-related publication out there, at least based on data easily found online. Thus, I think it is fair to say that I am now officially Cornell’s version of Fake Steve Jobs (covered by NY Times, BusinessWeek, Reuters, CNBC, etc.). Note to publishers: unlike Steve, I have not signed a book deal yet.


NY Times Profiles Cornell Residential Colleges

July 29, 2007

The New York Times published a piece today on the growing popularity of residential colleges around the country. It was given a clever title – The Residential Collage. Taking the center stage is none other than Cornell University’s own West Campus Residential Initiative.

It presented an interesting history of the project:

The West Campus Initiative at Cornell is emblematic of how residential life shapes a campus. It began under Hunter R. Rawlings III, the university’s president from 1995 to 2003. Mr. Rawlings arrived to find what he called “a divided campus.” The dorms then on West Campus, undistinguished buildings popularly known as U-halls, were located near many fraternity houses, and tended to attract white suburban students interested in a “pre-fraternity experience,” Mr. Rawlings says. Most minority students gravitated to the dorms on North Campus. Seeing an opportunity both to cross-pollinate the campus and to provide incoming students with greater supervision during their first year, Mr. Rawlings herded all the freshmen to North Campus. Then he embarked on the West Campus project, which he saw as a way of combating another tradition at Cornell — very hard work offset by very hard partying.

Missing from the article completely are Lehman and Skorton, but let’s not get distracted. It gets better:

“It had become clear that there was a 4:30 p.m. cutoff at the university, after which many students entered an intellect-free zone,” says Mr. Kramnick, who was named the first vice provost for undergraduate education in 2001. Cornell, he adds, prided itself on giving students independence in their choice of housing, “but for some students, better students who were looking for more intellectually oriented living arrangements, we didn’t have it.”

Also missing from the story are any real student opinions:

Indeed, interviews with a dozen students at Cornell would indicate that in loco amicus is thriving. They don’t think the West Campus houses have changed campus life – not yet – and most students see them not so much as a new learning philosophy as a snazzy new place to live.

Out of that dozen, only two make it into the article. Both were West Campus residents last semester.


Lehman One of the Top-Earning Educators

November 20, 2006

According to an annual survey of compensation by The Chronicle of Higher Education, seven college presidents received over $1 million during the 2004-2005 academic year. From the International Herald Tribune:

Audrey Doberstein, who stepped down in June as president of Wilmington College in Delaware, ranked first in total compensation, receiving $2.7 million in the 2004-05 academic year. That package comprised about $705,000 in salary, $798,615 in deferred compensation and $1.2 million in benefits.

Her successor, Jack Varsalona, said Doberstein’s total compensation had been increased by a change in the university’s retirement plan that required her to take the deferred compensation in a lump sum.

“It’s a really inflated figure,” Varsalona said.

Other presidents in the million-dollar club were Peter Traber from Baylor College of Medicine (more than $1.3 million), E. Gordon Gee of Vanderbilt University (nearly $1.2 million) and Karen Pletz of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (more than $1 million).

Three other presidents who stepped down recently also earned more than $1 million: Jeffrey Lehman of Cornell University, Roger Hull of Union College and Donald Ross of Lynn University.

Bloomberg had a slightly different spin on the numbers:

Cornell University President Jeffrey Lehman earned more than $1 million in his final year, the most in the Ivy League and almost twice as much as his Harvard counterpart.

Also recently released is the salary list for Iowa state workers. The Des Moines Register spotted a familiar name:

Then-U of I President David Skorton was paid $350,769 last fiscal year. Skorton left in June to become president of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Looks like he received nice raise.


The Sun Catches Lehman Between His Global Travels

October 3, 2006

In between his travels around the United States and, indeed, around the world, former President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 took some time to talk to The Sun about his international workload and some of his plans for the future.

Read the full interview in The Cornell Daily Sun.


Image Committee in The New York Times

April 25, 2006

A few years back, some Cornellians “banded together to form an “image committee,” making it their mission to press the university into marketing and branding itself more aggressively, and to help it climb higher in college rankings.” As Gawker put it, “it would seem to us that the first part of getting yourself perceived as one of the cool kids – as a big front-of-Metro takeout in Saturday’s Times explained a crew of Cornell kids is trying to do – would be to not have big front-of-Metro takeouts on how damn hard you’re trying to become one of the cool kids.” Take that as you will.

On to the relevant stuff. From “Cornell’s Worried Image Makers Wrap Themselves in Ivy” :

… when committee members first approached administrators to talk about their concerns – including what they saw as the university’s passive response to a slight drop in some ranking guides – they met with resistance. That changed three years ago, they said, with the arrival of a new president, Jeffrey S. Lehman, and the subsequent appointment of [Thomas W. Bruce, vice president for university communications], who took their critique seriously, particularly their thoughts about the so-called view book for potential applicants and about the Web site.

Nice to see credit where it’s due.


Skorton’s Rise

March 24, 2006

On March 24, 2005, the Yale Daily News published Josh Duboff’s “‘Poke’ your prof: faculty discovers thefacebook.com“. It starts off:

During a meeting in late January, University of Iowa President David J. Skorton mentioned jokingly that he had read about thefacebook.com, the popular online social network, in The Washington Post. He was curious as to what the Web site was all about. … Over a thousand friend requests and numerous “wall-postings” later, Skorton’s entrance into thefacebook.com community has caused quite a stir. Iowa students say they see the addition of Skorton to their “friends lists” as indicative of the close bond he has with the student body.

This was one year ago. Now Skorton is about to assume the presidency of Cornell University.

And almost one year before that, Jeffrey Sean Lehman joined Thefacebook. Since then, he was fired and exiled to Washington, DC. Or in official words, he resigned and took a sabbatical at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Two presidents. Two stories. One Facebook.