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SMU’s Gerald Turner Pulling In More Than $3.3M Annually

Southern Methodist leader is third-highest-paid of all U.S. private-university presidents.
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In October, Gerald Turner received the 2016 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from the Methodist Health System Foundation. (Photo by Jeanne Prejean)
In October, Gerald Turner received the 2016 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from the Methodist Health System Foundation.

Being the president of a private university in America can be a pretty sweet gig. Consider R. Gerald Turner, one of 39 such leaders who made more than $1 million in 2014, up from 32 the year before. Turner, who leads Southern Methodist University here, actually was No. 3 on this list of the Top 10 highest-paid presidents, raking in a total of $3,354,128 in ’14. Included in his payday: a base salary of $664,342, $125K in “bonus” compensation, and more than $2.42 million in “other” pay.

Is Turner really worth all that dough?

According to this D Magazine article last year by Joe Guinto, since Turner came aboard, SAT scores at SMU have risen by more than 40 points, freshmen applications have tripled, and minority enrollment has increased to 25 percent from 15.7 percent in 1993.

Turner also lured the George W. Bush Presidential Center to the university and, during his time as president, has raised a whopping $1.5 billion for the school. Prominent attorney Mike Boone told Guinto: “What has happened at SMU was Gerald’s vision … [He] has been the catalyst.”

So, I guess the answer is yes.

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