New IRS filings reveal administrative compensation

Dan Bauman
The Journal at Webster University

🔗 Administrator pay outpaces professors’ average salary increases

President Elizabeth Stroble and five other Webster University administrators received bonuses totaling $160,000 during the 2011 calendar year. According to recently released IRS documents, Stroble received the heftiest bonus of the six, totaling $75,000. In 2010, Stroble had received a $60,000 bonus from the university.

The other administrators to receive bonuses in 2011 were:

• Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Julian Schuster ($25,000)
• Former Chancellor Neil George ($20,000)
• Former Vice President and Executive Assistant to the President Karen Luebbert ($20,000)
• Former Vice President of Development and Alumni Programs Faith Maddy ($15,000)
• Former Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and current Assistant Provost for Student Affairs and Athletics Paul Carney ($5,000)

Patrick Giblin, Webster’s spokesperson, said the most recent compensation numbers were flawed because the data was two years old. Whereas Webster must report revenues and expenditure data by fiscal year (i.e. 2011-12) in its tax filing, compensation figures are recorded by calendar year (i.e. 2011). The Journal asked if the university intends to disclose 2012 pay figures for its top-paid administrators prior to filing the 990. Giblin said the university was still working on those numbers and that they would be made public when the next tax filing was submitted to the IRS in 2014.

“At this point (the university is) still going through everything and trying to make sure that it’s accurate. So, we are not ready to share those numbers yet,” Giblin said.

Title: Webster University Top Administrator Compensation, 2011
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Sources: 2011 Webster University 990 Form Filings,, Webster Today

*Greg Gunderson was hired as chief financial officer and vice president in March 2011. His 2011 salary figures should not considered full-year pay.

*Laura Rein was hired as university secretary in August 2011. Her 2011 salary figures should not be considered full-year pay.

*Karen Luebbert retired in May 2011. Her salary figures should not be considered full-year pay.

2011 also marked the first time compensation data was made publicly available for Provost Julian Schuster, Chief Financial Officer Greg Gunderson and former University Secretary Laura Rein. Schuster’s total compensation for 2011 was $323,991 — making him the third-highest paid administrator at Webster. Gunderson and Rein’s total pay for 2011 for $170,952 and $155,414, respectively. Schuster arrived at Webster in 2010; Gunderson and Rein were hired at separate points in 2011. Their salary figures should not be considered full-year pay.

Giblin said compensation data from the university’s tax filings was also misleading because it records figures most people would not consider part of their salary. Giblin said the filing takes into account the value of vacation time and sick time.

“It also adds the value of your health insurance, not only your contributions, but the company’s contributions through health insurance,” Giblin said. “It adds any travel expenses that you were reimbursed for. Most people don’t consider this to be their salary.”

On June 6, Rein was replaced by Jeanelle Wiley as university secretary. Rein will assume the role of University Libraries dean, a position she held prior to being promoted to university secretary. She has also been named director of the Global Leadership Academy. Wiley served as Stroble’s executive assistant before her promotion to university secretary.

Giblin said that the employee compensation study, called the Mercer Compensation Study, identified administrative pay that was below the industry average. According to tax filings, the Board of Trustees engaged Mercer Consulting in 2010 to “recommend appropriate benchmarking of executive compensation and benefits to be competitive and equitable with the market.”

“The salaries of the president and other executives were proposed at the 50 percent of the Mercer Benchmark survey,” reads the filing note. “The Board of Trustees formed a committee made up of Board members to review the salary levels. The 2011-2012 salaries of the president and other executives were then approved by the board committee.”

In 2010, Stroble’s total pay made her the 184th highest-paid private college president of the 494 college chief executives analyzed by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Stroble has been president since 2009. Analysis by the Chronicle and The Journal found average total pay for presidents at colleges similar to Webster in 2010 was $413,232.70. Complete 2011 compensation data for all similar private colleges has yet to be released. For an explanation of the analysis and to view more 2010 data on administrative pay, click here.

George retired from the chancellor position at the end of the 2011-12 academic year and retains the title of chancellor emeritus. His base compensation for 2011 was $268,644, the second largest after Stroble ($304,790). According to IRS documents, George’s retirement and other deferred-compensation package amounted to $23,275.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, deferred-compensation packages are meant to encourage administrators to stay at their institution until the end of a contract. The money can be invested tax-free until it is paid out to the administrator at an agreed-upon date. But if an administrator voluntarily resigns before that date, he or she will lose the package.

Luebbert retired in May 2011, but retained the title of vice president emeritus according to the tax documents. She was paid $136,681 in base compensation and held $11,385 in retirement and deferred compensation in 2011. Because of her retirement during 2011, Luebbert’s salary figures should not be considered full-year pay.

Maddy left the university in May 2013, according to a post from the university’s blog, Webster Today. Her base compensation was $168,085 and as of 2011 she had $16,181 in retirement or other deferred compensation. Maddy had been vice president of development and alumni programs since 2007. A.P. ‘Bun’ Perkinson succeed Maddy and was named Webster’s interim chief development officer on May 2, 2013, according to a post on Webster Today.

Carney’s position change was announced on Webster Today on April 2, 2013. Robert Parrent succeeded him as interim chief enrollment officer at the end of April. Prior to Webster, Parrent was vice president for Enrollment Management at the University of Central Arkansas.

The IRS requires non-profit institutions like Webster to report the compensation of:

• Current officers, directors, and trustees (no minimum compensation threshold).
• Current key employees (with more than $150,000 of reportable compensation).
• Current five highest compensated employees other than officers, directors, trustees, or listed key employees (with more than $100,000 of reportable compensation).
• Former officers, key employees, and highest compensated employees (with more than $100,000 of reportable compensation, with special rules for former highest compensated employees).