Monday, October 17, 2016

What a $2-Billion Loss Really Means for Harvard and Its Endowment - Scott Carlson, Chronicle

Some observers dismiss a year of bad returns as of little consequence for the world’s richest university. Others see a cautionary tale over how elite institutions use and invest their endowments. Above, the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard. Over the past week, administrators and investment managers at Harvard University have had to endure some public scrutiny over a $2-billion loss in the university’s endowment value. The editorial board at The Harvard Crimson, for example, gave administrators a scolding for the "subpar" performance of its investments. Harvard had been bested in the market by Princeton and others, the Crimson has noted in several articles. "Let’s not mince words: this is unacceptable," the editorial said. "… As crass as it might be to say, money makes Harvard go round."

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