January 30, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 31°F


Former IC president received over $1 million in 2016

Former Ithaca College President Tom Rochon received a total sum of $1,130,907 in 2016 with an accumulated deferred compensation payout and other forms of compensation.

Rochon received a decrease in compensation from 2015 to 2016, according to the Form 990 Information Return, a tax form that the college files with the IRS every year. Excluding the deferred compensation payout, Rochon’s compensation in 2016 was $605,072, compared to $621,323 in 2015. This was a 2.6 percent decrease in compensation. The accumulated deferred compensation payout Rochon received totaled $525,835.  

Rochon’s compensation decreased as the interest on the college’s contributions to his 457(f) plan declined after he took the deferred compensation payout, Sean Kanazawich, financial services senior accountant, said.

“Each year, the accumulated balance grows larger, and accordingly, the amount of interest owed grows larger each year,” Kanazawich said via email. “After Rochon received the payout of the accumulated deferred compensation in 2016, the interest component drops substantially.”

The reported compensation of officers, directors, trustees, key employers and the highest compensated employees on Form 990 is divided into multiple forms of compensation. Rochon’s accumulated deferred compensation payout is listed under “Other reportable compensation” in the 2016 Form 990.

Additional forms of compensation include base compensation, bonus and incentive compensation, retirement and other deferred compensation and nontaxable benefits. When the college puts money into Rochon’s 457(f) plan, Rochon does not actually receive the funds — they are reported as retirement and other deferred compensation.

During former President Peggy Ryan Williams’ last year of compensation as president in 2008, she received a total compensation of $404,950. Rochon became president in June 2008, but Williams remained on the college’s payroll until 2009, receiving a total compensation of $431,949 in 2009. Williams did not have a 457(f) plan like Rochon does because the plan did not become available until July 2008, Kanazawich said.

President Shirley M. Collado is not included in this year’s Form 990 filed by the college because it only includes information about employee compensation during the 2016 calendar year. Since Rochon was employed for part of the 2017 calendar year, both Collado and Rochon will be included in the 2017 Form 990.  

Rochon became the president of the Educational Records Bureau, an organization that assesses achievement and admission for independent and public schools, on Jan. 1.

Other top administrative earners at the college included Nancy Pringle, executive vice president and general counsel, who received $318,358, a 19.16 percent increase in total compensation, and Chris Biehn, vice president of college relations and advancement, who received $284,857, a 2.17 percent decrease in total compensation.

Kanazawich said the disparity between changes in Pringle’s compensation and Biehn’s compensation are the result of their utilization of specific employee benefits that are reported in Form 990.

Top faculty earners at the college included Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, who received $217,965, a 1.94 percent increase in total compensation and Karl Paulnack, dean of the Whalen School of Music, who received $194,566, a 1.58 percent increase in total compensation.

Laura O'Brien can be reached at lobrien3@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @L_OBrien3