In three separate interviews, it was the first word out of the mouths of recent graduate Laura Cebula and sophomores Tanyr Seay and Nicholas Rankin when they saw the salaries of some of Belmont’s highest-paid employees, including the university’s president, Dr. Bob Fisher.
Fisher made $862,686 in total compensation in the 2010 fiscal year, earning about as much as presidents from Harvard and Cornell.
“That does surprise me,” Cebula said. “I knew he had one of the highest salaries, but I didn’t know it was that,”
“I’m surprised. I personally like Dr. Fisher. But that salary!” Seay said.
The level, Rankin said, is “ridiculous,” but he said he believes Fisher does outstanding work .
“But there comes a point where I say, ‘You’ve earned that,’ and could argue where this is getting wasteful,” he said.
For Cebula, Fisher’s tenure at Belmont, during which the school has dramatically expanded and gained regional and national attention, should be a major consideration when looking at his compensation.
“I think it’s big, and it seems strange that his salary is in the category as schools like Harvard,” she said. “But I think it’s worth it. My degree is definitely worth something. … It’s definitely become more prestigious since I came in 2008.”
Rankin, a St. Louis area native, does not see Belmont on the same level as schools such as his hometown’s Washington University, whose president made about $1000 less than Fisher in 2010.
“But it’s rapidly getting better. The school gets so much right, and really doesn’t get enough credit,” he said.
– Brian Wilson