Endowment down 23.7% in 2008-09

i-16f0b5286c4f9bdb8bbd95c5fa4aedd4-wb_campus.jpgPrinceton’s endowment declined by 23.7 percent to $12.6 billion in the year ending June 30, according to Andrew Golden, president of the Princeton University Investment Co. (Princo). The news came in a Sept. 29 letter to the University community from President Tilghman, who said that Princeton continues to face “significant challenges, but we have made excellent progress this past year.” She said the University has reached its savings goal of $88 million for the current academic year and is “well on our way” to identifying an additional $82 million in cuts from the 2010-11 budget. With 145 staff members accepting a retirement incentive program, layoffs still will be required, she said, but the number will be “significantly less” than at some of Princeton’s peers.

Tilghman said that while some have criticized the University’s investments as too risky, a “more traditional approach” would have led to an endowment about half its current size and would have prevented a number of “critical” initiatives. “In other words, our pre-eminence has depended upon the risk/reward profile that Princo has adopted,” she said. While the investment strategy is being reviewed, she said, “the University is weathering this economic storm with its commitment to excellence in teaching and research intact.” By W. Raymond Ollwerther ’71