The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Northwestern University’s Morton Schapiro is the 16th highest paid college president in the nation.

The newly released Chronicle report, compiled from data provided to the IRS by the colleges for 2011, shows that University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer ranks number one in compensation — receiving $3.36 million.

Schapiro earned less than half that — a total of $1.35 million.

In all, 42 college president topped the $1 million compensation mark.

The Chronicle notes that school officials generally justify the high pay of presidents by citing the size and complexity of major universities, but it adds that presidents who reach the very top of the heap tend to get smaller raises in subsequent years than their peers, in an apparent backlash.

And the paper quotes Schapiro as saying he’s well aware that his compensation is an “enormous” amount of money.

“You get a lot more money than you ever thought you would getting a Ph.D. and being a labor economist,” Schapiro told the Chronicle. “You’re very well compensated. To deny that is crazy.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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