Leadership & Governance

Still on New School's Payroll, Bob Kerrey Takes Another Job

January 14, 2013

[Updated (1/14/2013, 5:43 p.m.) with comment from the New School and from Mr. Kerrey.]

Bob Kerrey, the former U.S. senator who continues to draw a six-figure salary as president emeritus of the New School, has a new job with a higher-education start-up company.

Mr. Kerrey, who is also a former governor of Nebraska, will be executive chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, a nonprofit fund-raising arm of the for-profit Minerva Project.

The Minerva Project, which expects to admit its first classes in 2014, bills itself as an affordable online alternative for talented students who may be turned away by Ivy League institutions. The project's distinction is that admissions will be based purely on academic achievement, rather than extracurricular activities, lineage, or capacity to donate.

"I believe the Minerva Project is the single most important innovation in higher education in my lifetime," Mr. Kerrey said in a news release.

Mr. Kerrey, who earned $3-million as the New School's president in 2010, was the nation's highest-paid private-college president that year, which is the most recent year for which federal tax forms are available.

Mr. Kerrey resigned as the New School's president in December 2010, but his position as president emeritus will earn him $400,000 to $600,000 a year through 2016, according to financial disclosures filed during Mr. Kerrey's failed 2012 campaign in Nebraska to return to U.S. Senate.

When asked on Monday whether Mr. Kerrey's new post would take time away from his duties as president emeritus, a New School spokesman said, "We only just learned about Bob's new role."

"We are looking forward to hearing more from Bob about this project and his duties there," Peter Taback, vice president for communications and external affairs, said in an e-mail.

Mr. Kerrey could not be reached for an interview on Monday, but he told The Chronicle in a voice-mail message that he was working under the terms of an agreement with the New School.

"I've got a contract, and I live within that contract," Mr. Kerrey said.

Minerva is based in San Francisco, across the country from the New School's campus, in New York City. Mr. Kerrey's job will be on the West Coast, but it will be part time, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kerrey's position as president emeritus is principally a fund-raising role, and board members previously expressed no objections to his running for the Senate while simultaneously holding a paid position at the New School. Michael J. Johnston, chairman of the New School's Board of Trustees, said in May that Mr. Kerrey was "such a moral person he would never take advantage" of the institution by collecting a paycheck he did not earn.

Mr. Kerrey joined the Minerva Project's advisory board in 2011. Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary and Harvard University president emeritus, is chair of Minerva's advisory board.