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Update on Dartmouth's Endowment Return

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"When looking at Dartmouth's endowment returns, keep in mind that it's much more complicated than a single number," says David Russ, chief investment officer. Russ reports:

  • Dartmouth's endowment investment return was 0.5 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008.
  • The return on the S&P 500 Index for the fiscal year ending June 2008 was negative 13 percent.
  • The average endowment returned negative 3.04 percent, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service, which looks at endowments and foundations worth $1 billion or more.
  • The three-, five-, and ten-year investment returns for Dartmouth are in the top quartile of our comparative peers. Dartmouth's return for those periods has been 12.8 percent, 14.3 percent, and 12.1 percent, respectively.
  • Over the past year, the endowment ending market value decreased by $100 million as a result of spending for key Dartmouth priorities, including faculty, facilities, and financial aid.
  • For the three-year period, the portfolio grew from $2.71 billion as of June 30, 2005, to $3.66 billion as of June 30, 2008, as a result of new gifts to the endowment totaling $245 million, cumulative spending of $457.5 million, and investment gains of $1.16 billion, for a net increase of $946 million.

Russ, his team, and the Board of Trustees manage the College's endowment investments with a long-term perspective. "We are not day traders. The portfolio is well diversified over multiple asset classes that effectively reduces the risk to the total portfolio over time," says Russ. "The portfolio is positioned for long-term investing in keeping with the perpetual nature of the generous gifts from donors. Without the wonderful contributions from donors there would be no endowment." 

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08