News released today from the university indicates the university’s endowment declined 16.5 percent during these dreary past six months. As of Dec. 31, 2008, the Vanderbilt endowment stood at $2.9 billion, down from $3.5 billion on June 30, 2008.
Normally, quite bad news. Given the current climate however, these numbers show the university is holding its own and in fact is “poised very well to navigate this environment,” according to Matthew Wright, vice chancellor for investments. Wright attributed the endowment’s performance to a shift in investment strategy beginning in August 2008 when the university began converting significant stock market assets to cash and liquid securities.
Overall, universities have seen a 22.9 percent drop over the same time period, according to a survey on endowment performance conducted by National Association of College and University Business Officers. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index dropped about 30 percent from July 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2008.
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