Univ. of Chicago Endowment


The University of Chicago is known for many things, most famous of which is its history of spinning out nationally recognized and Nobel Prize winning economists. The school was founded in 1890 by oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, who in his own words “felt that to aid colleges and universities, whose graduates would spread their culture far and wide, was the surest way to fight ignorance and promote the growth of useful knowledge.” Initially Rockefeller pledged $600,000 (in 19th century money) for the school, with another $400,000 to be raised from other sources. As the years went by Rockefeller went on to invest significantly more into the institution.

Today the school states that its endowment has just moved past the $5 Billion mark thanks to investments and fundraising. It has grown steadily over the past 20 years, but did decline in the bear market years of 2000 to 2002. According to Infoplease, as of a last reading in 2005 the UC Endowment was the 13th biggest endowment in the nation.

The fund employs a broad mix of Equity, Real Estate and Alternative investments to generate its returns. Its biggest single area of investment is Absolute Return products such as Hedge Funds which make up 28% of the fund’s investments. If all the various Equity groups in its portfolio are combined, they comprise 38% of the portfolio. With Alternative assets becoming more and more correlated to the stock market (and indeed underperforming it for 4 years running) one could argue the Endowment is highly leveraged to the performance of the global equity markets.

The fund’s investment philosophy could be found here, and a breakdown of its staff is here.

As of 12/31/06

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