Bernard Lander, founder of Touro College, received compensation of more than $4 million in 2008, making him the top-paid private college president that year.

Touro trustees awarded the money to Lander after deciding he had been underpaid during his tenure as president, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Lander died in February, aged 94.

In total, more than 30 private college leaders received pay packets worth than more $1 million. That's up from 23 in the previous year, partly due to a change in accounting practices.

One familiar pattern was that presidents received large compensation packets when they quit. John R Brazil, who retired in January as president of Trinity University in Texas, earned $2.78 million.

The highest-paid sitting president was R. Gerald Turner of Southern Methodist University. He earned $2.77 million.

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