I say yes, it is time to defend the importance of getting and retaining high quality leaders for the embattled institutions of higher education and medicine in our state. In Connecticut, the education and biomedical sectors are the only leading lights for the economy, and among the cultural features of the state virtually nothing outstrips its best universities. Our colleges and universities are many, so many that there’s no possible way they will all survive in their present forms. As a result of that competition for a drastically limited pools of qualified students, among the Connecticut university presidents who have survived are some real thought leaders. Sure, it costs a lot to hire one of these folks, but as I made clear in my interview (most of which is voiced by the reporter, and only a smudge of which comes out of my voice on the clip), Connecticut presidents and chancellors are faced with the worst and most ridiculous budgetary and tax and regulatory environment in any state in the nation. High university president salaries do not in themselves do much, just as paying CEOs of hospitals doesn’t improve outcomes. But before you reach the conclusion that they therefore need not exist, take a look at the pool of candidates who’ll do the job for less. You really don’t want your kids’ future alma mater to hire the kind of university president a low salary will get you in 2016.