A nice gig, if you can get it.

Update: Holy. Moly. What a thief.

(h/t pghredhead in the comments)


The president of IUP quit and he will be paid a year’s salary, a year’s benefits, and vacation pay … all in one nice lump sum totaling about a quarter of a million dollars. What a nice parting gift!

The man was the subject of a no-confidence vote by faculty six months ago because of his management and spending activities at a PASSHE-university that has seen some heavy funding cuts from the state, which will almost certainly mean higher tuition.

He quits one year before the end of his contract and CHA-CHING!

It says Dr. Atwater can remain in the president’s residence through July 31, and that the university will pay up to $15,000 for expenses involved in his move from Indiana, Pa.

$15,000 to move from Indiana, PA to Washington, DC.

I hope someday to hold a job that after my employees hold an actual vote just to let me know how much they think I suck, I can “quit” and get paid a quarter of a million dollars to leave, and $15,000 to move. Where, oh, where can I get me a job like that?

Look. I understand the behind the scenes maneuvers here. Believe me, I do. I get that there are contracts filled with severance language. I get that there might be sensitive liability issues that we don’t know about. I get that this speaks volumes: “The agreement also stipulates that reasonable efforts will be made to ensure ‘any reference inquiries are advised that Atwater was hired as president on Feb. 1 2005, served successfully and voluntarily resigned his position on June 30, 2010.'”

I get that maybe paying him to go away quietly is what is best for IUP in the long run.

I get it.

All I’m saying is that I’m a little aghast that Tony Atwater is being paid a quarter of a million dollars in one lump sum because he technically quit his job, and that would be a bitter pill for me to swallow should I get a letter from the State System of Higher Education telling me that in light of recent economic times and funding cuts, it is imperative that tuition be increased by fill in the blank% next year.

All I’m saying is that the very least Tony Atwater could do is pack his stuff up, rent a U-Haul and drive it the four hours to DC himself, then donate that $15,000 to one of the school’s scholarship funds.

Call it a parting gift.


  1. spoon
    June 17, 2010 11:42 am

    his moving truck must be covered in gold and diamonds.

    I use to work for a company where the CEO lasted 1-2 years and in that time he ran the company into the ground, spent billions of dollars on failing companies and laid off thousands of people while the stock plummeted. He got paid millions to step down and many of my friends got laid off with no package.

  2. Pa-pop
    June 17, 2010 11:57 am

    I’m surprised he didn’t resign his post at IUP to drive a PAT bus. From some appearances it would not have been a major reduction in pay.

  3. Al
    June 17, 2010 12:08 pm

    Moving expenses occurred due to relocation for a job are also tax deductible… you know, so he’s got that going for him.

  4. Roxy
    June 17, 2010 12:30 pm

    Where any other job you quit and you get nothing. No severance, no insurance, no unemployment, expenses, NADA. WTF something is not right here. Can I quit my job and get all that? I promise I will leave right now!

  5. Cassie
    June 17, 2010 12:39 pm

    I’m with you, Ginny, and I think he should donate that 15 g’s for something good. He’s obviously doing fine financially…

  6. Sooska
    June 17, 2010 12:58 pm

    He is also getting his a 9+% contribution to his retirement package, as well as reimbursement for COBRA for the year after he leaves. That is no small potatoes there.

    Aside from all that I am wondering about this “unpaid internship” he is taking with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Seems to me the taxpayers of Pennsylvania are paying his salary for his “unpaid internship.” Perhaps he can learn something during his stint. We taxpayers and the students of Pennsylvania sure have learned a thing or 3.

  7. Joe K.
    June 17, 2010 1:22 pm

    It sure is a different world in these high-end positions. Hope he doesn’t let the door hit him in the arse on the way out.

  8. Carpetbagger
    June 17, 2010 1:25 pm

    And how much is the guy who hired him in the first place getting paid ?

  9. pghredhead
    June 17, 2010 1:32 pm

    As an IUP alumna I have been saddened and sickened to learn of Tony Atwater’s actions while president. Even worse, his quarter of a million dollar parting gift is only the tip of the iceberg.

    For more on the subject, take a few moments to read this blog entry from two IUP journalism majors. All financial data was secured via the PA Right to Know Law. Reading it made me proud to see that my former college department is still turning out great grads. Digesting the subject matter was a bittersweet. Here’s hoping the next president of IUP will be a better financial steward.

    Atwater’s Personal Expenses Exceed $1.6 Million Over Five Years

  10. Elle C.
    June 17, 2010 2:05 pm

    wow, kudos to the students who wrote the article added by @pghredhead. I’m sure IUP students are less than thrilled to learn that their president and his wife were eating at the Four Seasons Hotel and having California Closets installed on their dime.

  11. MN
    June 17, 2010 2:16 pm

    What is really tragic is the example of personal greed exhibited here. So much for a president of a university trying to instill actual values and moral behavior in the students paying to be educated there! This is a travesty!

  12. John
    June 17, 2010 3:03 pm

    It makes me gag alittle too…the state is broke and this guy gets some more. But it pales in comparison to what they pay out in football coach/asst coach salaries around the state. I would love if someone would add that up.

  13. Linda
    June 17, 2010 3:57 pm

    My son just graduated from IUP and accepted a job in Washington, DC. He found an apartment in Alexandria with 2 roommates and still is paying high rent. We rented a U-Haul to move him from IUP to DC to the tune of $364.00 + gas!

  14. Joel
    June 17, 2010 5:04 pm

    …and you can get it if you tried

    Just showing my love for the showtunes ginny! :)

  15. Virginia
    June 17, 2010 5:12 pm



  16. Megan
    June 17, 2010 5:44 pm

    I’m so glad people are finally taking notice of what this guy has been doing. I’m the Megan that worked on the original article that pghredhead linked to up above.

    If you think the things in the story are outrageous, you should see some of the figures we DIDN’T put in. Believe you me, this man had it MADE.

  17. Critic Extraordinaire
    June 17, 2010 7:01 pm

    I’m surprised that nobody commented on that picture of Atwater that the P-G ran.

    The caption should have been “Whatchu talkin’ about, Willis?” :-)

  18. Neesie
    June 17, 2010 8:30 pm

    After reading the Port Authority rant and then this D-bag (with a capital D!!!) at IUP I am struck by the similarity in the situations…..I just love these government subsidized institutions that are constantly holding out their hands to the taxpayers, squandering our money, and then begging for more to repeat the cycle over and over.

    I know that taxes are a necessary evil, but I am sick to death of them pissing away our money like grows on trees and then having the audacity to ask for more.

  19. Luke Steelerstahl
    June 17, 2010 8:46 pm

    Ahh, the Pat Ford severance package.

  20. MJ
    June 17, 2010 10:35 pm

    And yet IUP calls our home constantly asking my husband to donate to the university. I can see why they need the money.

    The only shred of hope I can cling to in all of this is that maybe he didn’t really quit.

  21. MM
    June 17, 2010 10:59 pm

    Totally agree w/ the comments above (especially 18), but just wanted to comment that I just graduated from IUP in May and I really feel I got a great education. Just wanted to mention this considering the “black eye” the college has right now:)

  22. Megan
    June 17, 2010 11:00 pm

    MJ — if you believe the rumor mill at IUP, it was “strongly suggested” that Tony find another job…and fast. And the personal spending was just the final nail in the coffin.

    That’s just the word on the street, of course.

  23. Donncha
    June 18, 2010 9:26 am

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m resigning as president of IUP as soon as I can find their address.

  24. Virginia
    June 18, 2010 9:29 am

    Donncha wins!

  25. bucdaddy
    June 18, 2010 10:27 am

    Wait till you see what the BP guy gets to walk away from the Gulf mess.

  26. bucdaddy
    June 18, 2010 10:32 am

    Megan & Co.:

    Good job.

  27. Al Lambrini
    June 18, 2010 1:40 pm

    what’s a california closet?