Education

Wake Forest president made more than $4 million, tax filing shows

Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch had total compensation of $4.23 million listed on the university’s 2015 tax filings.
Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch had total compensation of $4.23 million listed on the university’s 2015 tax filings. ©WFU/Ken Bennett

Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University, had total compensation of $4.23 million listed on the university’s 2015 tax filings.

The disclosure was made on the university’s website Monday by Board of Trustees Chair Donna Boswell.

In a lengthy message posted on the day of Wake Forest’s graduation, Boswell explained the elements of Hatch’s compensation, which could put him among the most highly compensated university presidents in 2015. “We on the Board of Trustees, together with President Hatch, want to be as open and transparent as possible concerning this information,” she wrote.

The IRS Form 990s that nonprofits have to file are public records, and annually the Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a list of compensation packages for public and private college presidents. The publication last year reported on 2014 financial figures, showing that two private university presidents made more than $4 million — Jack Varsalona, president of Wilmington University in Delaware, whose compensation was $5.4 million, and Mark Wrighton, president of Washington University in St. Louis, whose compensation was about $4.2 million.

Overall, 39 private college presidents made more than $1 million in 2014, the Chronicle reported.

Boswell wrote that Hatch received a base salary of $839,944 and a performance bonus of $92,000. The bulk of his compensation was the result of the 2015 vesting of a 10-year, $2.89 million supplemental executive retirement plan, also known as “deferred compensation.” He also receives other benefits, such as housing and a car. Deferred compensation is becoming a common element of university presidents’ compensation.

The 2005 hire of Hatch included the agreement that Wake Forest would set aside $255,000 per year in the retirement plan benefit.

Boswell cited Hatch’s accomplishments in the past decade, including the completion of WFU’s largest fundraising campaign, a renovation of the university’s Reynolda Campus, greater diversity among the student body and changes in the areas of business and medicine.

“Not a day goes by that I do not appreciate the Board of Trustees’ vision for Wake Forest and their confidence in Dr. Hatch’s ability to lead us through such a successful period in the life of our beloved University,” Boswell wrote. “In addition to the untold number of hours Dr. and Mrs. Hatch commit to Wake Forest, they have been among our most generous philanthropic donors. We believe Dr. Hatch’s compensation over the course of his tenure reflects his exceptional leadership.”

Wake Forest is consistently rated in the top 30 universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The published price of tuition and fees at Wake Forest this year is $51,400.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

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