The Collegian
Saturday, March 25, 2023

University of Richmond's Form 990, explained

In 2012, former President Edward Ayers made $1,100,770 in total compensation, but he was only the fourth highest- paid employee at the university that year.

In order to keep its nonprofit status -- and the tax exemptions that come along with it -- Richmond must submit a Form 990 to the Internal Revenue Service annually for review; the latest made open to public inspection is from the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Robin Blandford, the highest paid employee, made $1,971,608. In 2012, Blandford was selected to be the new president of the Spider Management Company, an investment entity owned by Richmond that manages the university’s $2.4 billion endowment.

No. 2 on the list was Srinivas Pulavarti, the man Blandford replaced as president of Spider Management. That year Pulavarti made $1,850,14 before leaving Richmond to assume a similar position at UCLA.

Christopher Mooney, the men's basketball coach, was the third highest paid employee at Richmond. Mooney pulled in $1,145,141 in 2012, and Danny Rocco, the football coach, made $437,672.

Rounding out the top five at $610,292 was Stephen Kneeley, the Chief Executive Officer of Spider Management Company. Kneeley now serves as the CEO at Context Asset Management.

As a private university, Richmond is not required to make its entire payroll public, unlike the University of Virginia. In 2014, UVA’s highest paid employee made $700,000 while the lowest was paid just $1,200.

Instead Richmond is required to release the salaries of 20 specific employees on campus, five of which must be those with the highest salaries. The other 15 people on the list include officers, directors, trustees and key employees.

Listed among the 15 are the provost and several deans, generally people who make over $150,000 a year and control a considerable amount of spending power at the university.

The “Compensation Information” part of the Form 990 is broken down into seven columns, the last of which is the total of the previous six. Looking through these columns helps explain how the 20 employees listed are paid.

For example, a large percentage of Blandford and Pulavartis’ salaries were in the “bonus and incentive compensation” column, differentiating them from the others on the list. These bonuses are earned by hitting investment targets set for the endowment. Pulavarti made $396,000 in bonuses, or about 21.4 percent of his total salary.

It should come as no surprise that three Spider management employees can be found in the top five. The company manages Richmond's endowment, and generates about 37 percent of the university’s annual revenue.

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Ayer’s received $138,000 of his salary in the “nontaxable benefits” column, much more than anyone else listed. Most of this probably came in the form of a residence for personal use, since the school owned the house where he lived.

The highest paid woman, and the eighth highest-paid employee out of the 20 reported, was Wendy Perdue. Perdue, the dean of the law school, and made a total of $394,134.

If you’re wondering where your favorite history professor falls on the list of highest paid employees, you will have to ask them yourself. Only two professors are listed out of the 20 on the Form 990.

Interestingly enough, both of the professors listed left the university in 2012. The highest percentage of their total pay comes from the “other reportable compensation” column, usually bonuses based on the competitive salaries made by their peers at other universities.

Contact reporter William Shelton at

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