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Ainlay pay at Union College reached top echelons for 2016-17 school year

Ainlay pay at Union College reached top echelons for 2016-17 school year

'This was in recognition of his exceptional leadership and accomplishments during the time of his presidency'
Ainlay pay at Union College reached top echelons for 2016-17 school year
Stephen Ainlay retired as Union College president this year after a 12-year run.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

A deferred payout to former Union College President Stephen Ainlay in his second to last year on the job boosted his pay to one of the highest of any private college presidents in the country.

Ainlay was paid over $2.3 million during the 2016-2017 school year, according to Union tax filings. That level of compensation ranked Ainlay as the seventh-highest-paid private college president in the country that year, according to a database compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In previous years, Ainlay had earned around $550,000, ranking his pay in the top third but nowhere near the highest president salaries. The Chronicle database listed his base salary for the 2016-2017 school year as just over $525,000, with “other pay” of over $1.7 million, lifting his total compensation to the upper echelons.

A written statement Wednesday from John E. Kelly III, chair of Union’s Board of Trustees, said Ainlay received a “one-time deferred compensation payment” negotiated before he started his second term in the job. The statement highlighted Union’s growing popularity and diversity during Ainlay’s tenure, as well as a $258 million fundraising campaign to support renovations in over a dozen campus buildings.

“This was in recognition of his exceptional leadership and accomplishments during the time of his presidency,” Kelly said in the statement.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Jackson has traditionally ranked as the region’s highest-paid private college president and among the highest paid in the country. During the 2016-2017 school year, she earned over $2.1 million in total compensation; that same year, Skidmore President Philip Glotzbach earned over $597,000, according to tax filings.

Ainlay retired at the end of the last school year, his 12th in the job. He returned to campus this fall, when the college’s new science and technology building was named in honor of him and his wife. Ainlay was replaced by David Harris, who was inaugurated in September.

Union College’s other highest-paid employees during the 2016-2017 school year (according to the college’s most recent tax filings):

  • Terri Cerveny, vice president for college affairs: $331,743

  • Diane Blake, vice president of finance and administration: $288,399

  • Eric Bennet, men’s hockey coach: $274,618

  • Hans Friedrich Mueller, former faculty trustee: $233,225

  • Matthew Malatesta, vice president for admissions and financial aid: $232,561

  • Therese McCarty, economics professor: $231,452

  • Alan Taylor, mathematics professor: $223,960

  • Wendy Sternberg, dean of academic departments and programs: $215,725

  • Ellen Borkowski Yue, chief informational officer: $214,945

  • Robert Baker, philosophy professor: $209,072

  • Strom Thacker, vice president of academic affairs: $189,875

  • Robert Kelly, chief of staff: $167,428

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