Campus News

Bowdoin's Endowment Returns Among Nation's Best

Story posted October 21, 2003

According to Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks the performance of endowment funds nationwide, Bowdoin's investment returns places it third among 158 college and university endowments and tenth among all endowed institutions.

"These returns send an important message to those who support Bowdoin College because they show donors that the College is serious about and successful in preserving and building its assets for today and into the future," said Bowdoin President Barry Mills. "These exemplary results would not have been possible without the sophisticated fund managers, skilled professional staff and strong trustee leaders working together on Bowdoin's behalf. We are fortunate to have such an excellent team."

Bowdoin's fiscal 2003 return of 9.03% outpaces the median return of 3.2% during the same period for the college and university endowments tracked by Cambridge Associates. The five- and ten-year annualized return for the Bowdoin endowment (as of June 30, 2003) was 6.0% and 11.0% respectively, versus mean returns for endowed institutions tracked by Cambridge Associates of 4.3% and 9.3%.

Bowdoin's endowment portfolio is diversified across different asset classes including domestic and international equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate and absolute return strategies. Portfolio diversification has enabled the College to protect endowment capital in a challenging investment environment. In fiscal year 2002 the College's endowment generated an investment return of 1.5%, significantly outperforming the average return for college and university endowments of -5.0%, as well as the market index, represented by the S&P 500 index of -18%.

On June 30, 2003, Bowdoin's endowment was valued at approximately $452 million, up from a market value of $430.6 million the previous year. The College's growth in endowment assets includes investment performance and new endowment gifts, minus endowment spending in support of current programs at the College. Over fiscal year 2003 the College received approximately $6 million in endowment gifts while the endowment provided $21.25 million towards the annual operations of the College.

Bowdoin's endowment is made up of over 1,400 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives. Bowdoin's Investment Committee is currently chaired by Richard H. Stowe. Paula Volent, CFA, is vice president for investments at Bowdoin.

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