Emma Williams / Sun Assistant Design Editor

Of the 23 employees the IRS required Cornell to list on a section of its filings, 15 were men and 21 were white.

September 7, 2017

No Black or Hispanic Employees Among Highest Paid on Cornell’s IRS Return

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Of the 23 top employees whose incomes Cornell University reported to the federal government in its most recent tax filings, 15 are men and all but two are white.

These employees (see full list below), who earned a combined $35.9 million, constitute some of Cornell’s most vital personnel and hold or have held the University’s most powerful posts. They are current and former officers, directors, trustees and the top five highest-compensated employees, as well as key employees, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.

In the filings, which were made public in May and have not been previously reported, Cornell lists two Asian employees among the group of 23. Cornell is the only Ivy League school with no black or Hispanic employees in this group, according to fiscal year 2015 IRS forms for the other seven Ivies published by ProPublica.

Joel Malina, vice president for university relations, said in a statement that Cornell has “made a number of senior level hires over the past few years that increase our leadership diversity, and we will continue to emphasize this throughout the organization.”

“Diversity at Cornell is a source of strength, innovation and excellence,” Malina said, adding that the University is committed to diversity “among all members of our community, including faculty, students, staff and the senior administration.”

Minorities and women are underrepresented at other Ivies, too: About 6 percent of the Ivy League’s listed top employees are black or Hispanic, and 61 out of 199 — 31 percent — are women.

The elite group is listed by Cornell in a tax form for fiscal year 2016 that the IRS requires from tax-exempt, charitable organizations. The filing, Form 990, is open to public inspection and was provided to The Sun by Cornell upon request.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, Cornell’s five highest-paid employees were all doctors employed by Weill Cornell, and four out of five were white men. The top five made an average of more than $4 million, and the highest-paid Cornell employee was Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director and physician-in-chief of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine in Manhattan, who made $6.4 million.

Cornell also reported that there were 4,282 employees who earn more than $100,000 in their University jobs.

Of the 23 employees whose compensation the IRS required Cornell list on Schedule J of its 2016 filing, 12 earned more than $1 million. The average income for these employees was $1.5 million.

Emma Williams / Sun Assistant Design Editor

Of the 23 employees whose compensation the IRS required Cornell list on Schedule J of its 2016 filing, 12 earned more than $1 million. The average income for these employees was $1.5 million.

Former President Elizabeth Garrett’s total compensation, reported for the first time, was $575,627 from July 1, 2015, to Feb. 19, 2016, when she transferred her power to Provost Michael Kotlikoff and underwent treatment for colon cancer. Garrett died on March 6, 2016.

Cornell declined to release President Martha E. Pollack’s compensation figures for this article, noting that the University complies with IRS requirements and will release the president’s salary when required by law. Pollack will likely appear on the University’s filings for fiscal year 2017, which are expected to be made public in the spring of 2018.

The IRS requires tax-exempt, charitable organizations to report how much it pays all former officers and key employees who earn more than $100,000, as well as all former directors or trustees who make more than $10,000. The service also requires these organizations to report how much it compensates current directors, trustees, officers and key employees who earn more than $150,000. A key employee is defined as an employee with certain responsibilities whose salary exceeds $150,000 and who ranks among Cornell’s 20 most-paid.

Compared to the top earners at other schools in fiscal year 2015, Rosenwaks’ fiscal year 2016 salary was $6,364,250, making him the fourth-highest-paid person in the Ivy League.

The conference’s top earner was Dr. Thomas L. Spray, who earned over $8 million in fiscal year 2015. Spray is chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is a professor of surgery at Penn Medicine.

Columbia was the only Ivy League school with a higher average compensation — $1.8 million — for its listed employees than Cornell. It paid its top two investment officers, the second and third highest-paid employees in the Ivy League, $7.2 million and $6.5 million in fiscal year 2015.

These skewed demographics at Cornell’s highest levels, as reported by the University, follow years of commitments to diversity from Cornell leaders.

President Emeritus Hunter R. Rawlings III said in 2016 that Cornell “seek[s] to recruit, hire, promote and retain the highest caliber of faculty and staff regardless of race,” and former President Elizabeth Garrett said in 2015 that “Cornell recognizes that learning, innovation, and productivity are best advanced through the full participation of individuals with diverse points of view … who come from different backgrounds.”

Name (degrees, as they appear on tax form) Title Fiscal Year 2016 Total Compensation (with benefits)
Zev Rosenwaks, MD Prof. of Reproductive Med. & Infertility $6,364,250
Hey-Joo Kang, MD Prof. of Obs Gyn & Reproductive Med $3,943,142
Theodore Schwartz, MD Prof. of Reproductive Med. & Infertility $3,704,684
Steven D. Spandorfer, MD Prof. of Reproductive Med. & Infertility $3,577,646
Philip E. Stieg, PhD Prof. & Chairman of Dept. of Neur. Surg. $3,400,863
Antonio M. Gotto, MD Former Officer/Dean of Weill/Provost $2,848,390
Daniel M. Knowles, MD Chair & Professor of Pathology $1,982,389
Laurie H. Glimcher Provost, Weill Cornell Med* $1,751,950
Albert J. Edwards Chief Investment Officer* $1,495,796
Stephen M. Cohen Executive Vice Provost $1,116,306
Augustine M.K. Choi Interim Dean, Weill Cornell Med* $1,042,134
Harry Katz Former Officer/Interim Provost $624,292
Joanne M. DeStefano Executive VP and CFO $611,208
Elizabeth Garrett President* $575,627
James J. Mingle University Counsel & Secretary $557,028
Michael I. Kotlikoff Provost*, Interim President*, Trustee $505,876
Robert A. Buhrman Sr. VP for Research $439,190
Rosemary J. Avery Former Trustee/Chair Dept. of Management $366,386
Barbara A. Baird Trustee/Prof. of Chemistry $298,652
Nelson G. Hairston Former Trustee/Prof. Of Environmental Sci. $223,444
Mariana F. Wolfner Trustee/Prof. of Molecular Bio. $207,187
Alan L. Mittman Trustee/Director of Workforce Policy $184,949
Beth McKinney Former Trustee/Dir. of Wellness Program $112,193

* =Did not serve a full year in the post