It’s Beyond Belief: DePinho Gets $208,000 Bonus; Grad Students Can’t Get Cake

It’s Beyond Belief: DePinho Gets $208,000 Bonus; Grad Students Can’t Get Cake


Leonard Zwelling

         And I thought I could not be surprised any longer. Silly me!

         The Texas Tribune reported on December 12 that over $2 M in bonuses were distributed to top administrators in the UT System by the Board of Regents. This includes the President of the institution that has lost $110 M in the last three months as reported yesterday by the Chronicle.


That institution has ended Christmas parties, celebrations for graduating PhDs, and certain kinds of travel. It has asked its clinicians to take one for the team and spend another day in clinic in lieu of doing research. My goodness. It’s good MD Anderson didn’t make any money. Then DePinho would have gotten so big a bonus he would have had to retire.

         So it seems that the worse MD Anderson does the more Ron makes. How exactly does that work? Is it working for you? Is the action of the President inspiring you to work harder?

         Some of the leaders granted bonuses by the Regents had the common decency to turn down the money as the article says. But not our Ron unless he decides to do so in the future. Yet, we know how much Ron likes money, so how likely is that? I guess he could have contributed the bonus to the Moon Shot Program. But why bother? Vice President Biden is taking care of that in Washington.

         Heck, he could have started a 10 K “Cakewalk” to generate money for celebratory pastry for successful theses defenses.

         The world is starting to look a little crazy. People get more money for doing worse jobs. Donald Trump appoints almost all white guys with fat wallets and that is supposed to help the little guy who put him in the White House. How does that work? I am not sure Rex Tillerson has the best interests of a coal miner in West Virginia in the front of his mind when he’s sipping vodka with Vladimir Putin.

         You get my drift. The world has come completely unhinged. The American people wanted a revolution. Well, they got one. They have moved from a government of slow grinding accountability with all of the members of the House up for election every two years to a mass of incompetence with the organs of government in the hands of people who understand neither government nor the middle class. What exactly are Rick Perry’s qualifications to lead the Department of Energy beyond the fact that he forgot he wanted to eliminate it during a televised debate?

         At MD Anderson, the leadership barely understands clinical care and surely does not know what to do about the crisis (I’m sorry, $110 M loss in three months is a crisis) of clinical revenue shortfalls. And now the boss is making over $2 M a year.

         And what about that non-profit status of MD Anderson? Can you be a non-profit with a $2.8B cash reserve? How does that work?

         What am I missing? It’s one thing to get a trophy for just showing up, but do you have to get a bonus for screwing up?

         My suggestion is that before Dr. DePinho cashes the bonus check someone in Austin should examine on what he is spending all that money and whether those expenses have translated into any cancer cures of late. I really have no idea why Dr. DePinho deserves a bonus, but when does anything at MD Anderson seem to be about what anyone actually deserves?  

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