Endowment soars 19.3 percent to reach $5.28 billion

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Claudia Wheatley

Cornell's endowment continues to generate strong performance, university officials announced May 4.

The endowment has climbed 19.3 percent so far in fiscal year 2011 as of April 30, reaching $5.28 billion. That increase follows a 12.6 percent gain in fiscal 2010. At its highest mark, Cornell's endowment was $5.8 billion at the end of fiscal 2008.

The second consecutive year of gain can be attributed to asset allocation as well as effective collaboration between the professionals in Cornell's Office of University Investments and the investment committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees, said Vice President for University Communications Tommy Bruce.

The news follows a May 2 statement by the university that Michael Abbott stepped down from his position as Cornell's chief investment officer May 1. In the statement, Bruce said, "It had become apparent that his style of conducting business is inconsistent with Cornell's policies and expectations. Accordingly, he and the university agreed that it is in their mutual interests to end the relationship."

A.J. Edwards, who has served as senior investment officer since March 2008, has assumed Abbott's responsibilities on an interim basis until the university has identified a suitable replacement. Cornell's team of professionals in the university's investment office is working effectively with the trustees' investment committee to implement a smooth transition and ensure that the university meets its investment targets, Bruce said.

"We are confident that the endowment's continuing positive outlook for the performance, which are exceeding expectations as demonstrated by its returns to date, will not be affected," Bruce said.

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