The Bowdoin College endowment generated an investment return of 2.6% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012. This compares with the mean return of -1.0% 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 decile of peer returns.
As of June 30, 2012, the three-, five- and ten-year annualized returns for Bowdoin’s endowment were 11.4%, 3.1% and 9.6%, respectively—all top decile versus comparative college and university annualized returns.
Bowdoin’s endowment consists of over 1,500 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives. The College’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.
On June 30, 2012, Bowdoin’s endowment was valued at $902.4 million. During the fiscal year the College received approximately $15.3 million in endowment gifts and additions and provided approximately $37.9 million towards the annual operations of the College, or 29% of the 2011-12 operating budget. Approximately 45% of the endowment is restricted to the support of financial aid. Admission to Bowdoin is “need blind”—that is, 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 Investment Committee was chaired over the past year by Bowdoin Trustee James MacAllen. Paula Volent, CFA, is Senior Vice President for Investments at the College.