Penn State endowment investment returns in top 25 percent among peers

University Park, Pa. — Penn State officials recently learned that investment returns on the University's endowment in 2007 rated in the top 25 percent among peer institutions for both the previous 12 months and previous three years ending Dec. 31, 2007.

In the comparative data reviewed, Penn State was measured against a peer benchmark group of 25 reporting institutions as well as a universe of sophisticated endowments surveyed by Cambridge Associates, a consulting firm that provides comprehensive reviews to universities on their investment approaches.

The peer benchmark group includes the institutions of the Big Ten and several large mid-Atlantic public universities. The Cambridge benchmarks include both a group of 136 colleges and universities as well as 375 institutions representing the broader universe of universities and foundations.

Penn State’s endowment currently stands at $1.51 billion. Endowment funds are managed to provide a permanent source of income for the educational mission of Penn State. The University’s endowment provides support to student aid and helps fund faculty positions and programs. Money coming in for scholarships is the single greatest area to which donors contribute. 

The Investment Council, which provides direct oversight of the University's endowment and long-term investment program, was created by Penn State's Board of Trustees in 2000. The council regularly reviews asset allocation, new asset classes, investment strategies and manager performance.

Consisting of nine board-appointed members chaired by Gary Schultz, senior vice president for finance and business/treasurer of the University, the Penn State Investment Council includes David Branigan, executive director of the office of investment management, and five to seven non-University representatives.

The Office of Investment Management oversees the day-to-day management and administration of University investment funds. OIM submits policies and practices as appropriate for achieving investment and spending objectives to the Investment Council for its review and approval.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009