The Bowdoin investment return of 19.2% compares with the mean return of 16.2% for college and university endowments as reported by Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks performance of foundations and endowments nationwide. Bowdoin’s fiscal year return is in the top 5% of peer returns.
“A strong and growing endowment is the single most important factor in our ability to provide access and opportunity through financial aid, and to fund the outstanding academic and residential life programs that set Bowdoin apart,” said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills. “This success is the result of superb work by our senior vice president for investments, Paula Volent, an investment committee that is disciplined and nimble, and a community of alumni, parents, and friends who provide ongoing generous support to our College.”
“A strong and growing endowment is the single most important factor in our ability to provide access and opportunity through financial aid…” — Barry Mills
As of June 30, 2014, the three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns for Bowdoin’s endowment were 12.3%, 13.8% and 10.4%, respectively—all top 5th percentile among comparative college and university annualized returns where the respective mean returns were 8.8%, 11.8%, and 7.5% . Bowdoin’s endowment consists of over 1,633 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives.
On June 30, 2014, Bowdoin’s endowment was valued at $1,216,030,000. During the fiscal year, the College received approximately $24.1 million in endowment gifts and additions, and provided $41.3 million to the annual operations of the College. Of this, approximately $18.1 million supported financial aid. Admission to Bowdoin is “need blind,” which means students are admitted without regard to their economic need. In 2008 the College adopted a “no-loan” policy, replacing student loans with grants.
Bowdoin’s endowment was honored with the Institutional Investor “Endowment of the Year” award at the magazine’s 12th annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards gala June 26, 2014.
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. All asset classes are invested through a selection of external investment managers or through market indices. The portfolio is structured with a long-term time horizon, with portfolio diversification and manager selection directed toward protecting endowment capital in challenging investment environments, while growing those assets during periods of economic stability and growth.