The University performed poorly among the Ivy League institutions in endowment returns, according to the 2015-2016 fiscal report released Thursday.

October 2, 2016

Cornell’s $6.1 Billion Endowment Posts Negative Return, Lowest of 5 Ivies

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Cornell announced Thursday that its $6.1 billion dollar endowment has posted a return of negative 3.3 percent in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The University’s endowment performance is the worst of the five Ivy League schools that have reported returns so far.

Only Yale has posted a gain for the year, climbing 3.4 percent, while Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth have posted losses of 2 percent, 1.4 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

“We recognize the importance of the endowment for the University’s financial interests and its research, faculty and students,” said Donald Opatrny ’74, the chair of the Investment Committee in a statement. “Moving forward we are proactively examining, given this low-return environment, how to optimize the endowment.”

One of the proactive moves the University will make is to move the Office of University Investments to New York City from its current location in Ithaca.

The move was announced on Friday after being recommended at the Investment Committee’s Sept. 7 meeting and recieving the stamp of approval from Interim President Hunter Rawlings a week later.

The move represents an effort to attract more potential employees who may not be willing to move to Ithaca, according to Joann DeStefano, Cornell’s chief financial officer.

“The Investment Committee believes over the long term the relocation to New York City gives us even better access to potential staff who might not be willing to move to Ithaca,” she said in a statement. “We’ve had great staff hires, but this move will expand the population of potential candidates. And it puts us closer to the world capital markets.”

Kenneth Miranda, the University’s fourth chief investment officer since 2010, added that the move is in the long-term interest of Cornell even if the “full merits will take time to achieve.”

Although office space and salaries in New York City would be more expensive, DeStefano added that a 10-basis point increase in endowment returns would more than cover the difference in cost.