Top 20 Richest Colleges for 2013: The Biggest Endowments

Of the 835 colleges studied, endowments rose by an average of nearly 12% in the fiscal year ending in June 2013

The top college far outstripped number two on the list, and all the other colleges. The top college far outstripped number two on the list, and all the other colleges.

It’s been a year since we looked at the colleges with the largest amount of money in their endowment funds, and we thought it was time to check in again.

ThinkAdvisor decided to double the list to the Top 20 Richest Colleges for 2013 over the slideshows of 2012 and 2011 so we could include more than the usual suspects on our list.

The data comes from the NACUBO Commonfund Study of Endowments, which examined 835 U.S. colleges and universities. Overall, the study found that the endowments returned an average of 11.7% for the fiscal year that ended in June.

The funds continued their rebound from the Great Recession. And that’s a good thing because endowments pay a key part of the schools’ operating budgets, making up an average of 8.8%.

(Check out last year's Top 10 Richest Colleges for 2012 on ThinkAdvisor.)

NACUBO notes that the percentage gains for the endowment funds do not equate to investment returns. Instead, the percentage change reflects the net impact of:

  • Withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses;
  • The payment of endowment management and investment fees;
  • Additions from donor gifts and other contributions;
  • Investment gains or losses.

In addition the market value of real estate and other illiquid assets is estimated and can change quickly.

Check out the Top 20 Richest Colleges for 2013: The Biggest Endowments:

Rice University campus in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

20. Rice

$4.8 billion, up 9.5%

2012 Ranking: No. 20—$4.4 billion

The Rice Management Co. is headed by CIO Allison Thacker and COO Ron Long.

University of Virginia Campus

19. University of Virginia

$5.1 billion, up 7.9%

2012 Ranking: No. 19—$4.7 billion

Lawrence Kochard, CEO and CIO, leads the University of Virginia’s Investment Management Co. Previously he had been CIO of Georgetown University’s investment fund.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

18. Cornell University

$5.2 billion, up 6.6%

2012 Ranking: No. 18—$4.9 billion

The school’s Office of University Investments is guided by CIO A.J. Edwards, who was appointed to the position in May 2012 after serving a year as interim CIO.

At University of Washington, students walk near Suzzallo Library. (Photo: AP)

17. Washington University in St. Louis

$5.6 billion, up 8.1%

2012 Ranking: No. 17—$5.2 billion

Kimberly Walker heads the Investment Co. as CIO, a position she has held for nearly eight years. She had been president of Qwest Asset Management Co., part of Qwest Communications International, which had $4 billion in assets under management.

Main Quad on Emory's Druid Hills Campus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

16. Emory University

$5.8 billion, up 6.5%

2012 Ranking: No. 16—$5.4 billion

Mary Cahill, who honed her prowess at Merck and Xerox, is vice president of investments and CIO for Emory’s funds.

Duke fans cheering basketball team. (Photo: AP)

15. Duke

$6 billion, up 8.7%

2012 Ranking: No. 15—$5.5 billion

Neil Triplett, who has been president of the Duke asset management team since 2007, leads the endowment. He has been part of the team since 1999.

 Memorial Glade at the UC Berkeley campus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

14. University of California

$6.3 billion, up 7%

2012 Ranking: No. 14—$5.9 billion

Jagdeep Singh Bachher is the CIO and vice president of investments; he joined the fund in April. Before taking the helm of the Cal pension and endowment funds, he had been an executive vice president at Alberta Investment Management Co., one of Canada’s largest investment fund managers.

University of Chicago campus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

13. University of Chicago

$6.6 billion, up 1.5%

2012 Ranking: No. 12—$6.5 billion

Mark Schmid, vice president and CIO, leads an investment team of 29 people, from the school that was founded by John D. Rockefeller.

 University of Notre Dame historic center, popularly termed the God Quad. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

12. University of Notre Dame

$6.8 billion, up 8.3%

2012 Ranking: No. 13—$6.3 billion

The Investment Office is led by Scott Malpass, a graduate of the school who adheres to Catholic principles when making investment choices.

University of Pennsylvania

11. University of Pennsylvania

$7.7 billion, up 14.6%

2012 Ranking: No. 12—$6.7 billion

Peter Ammon was named CIO in April 2013, replacing Kristin Gilbertson, who resigned the fall before. Ammon came from the Yale Investments Office where he had been a director.

Northwestern University Hall. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

10. Northwestern University

$7.8 billion, up 8.3%

2012 Ranking: No. 10—$7.1 billion

William McLean, vice president and CIO, has guided the school’s investments since 2002. He has served as president of the North Carolina Society of Financial Analysts.

Columbia University Campus

9. Columbia University

$8.1 billion, up 7.1%

2012 Ranking: No. 8—$7.6 billion

President and CEO N.P. Narvekar continues to lead the Columbia Investment Management Co., which was founded in 2002. He had previously been at the University of Pennsylvania.

University of Michigan, Law School Quadrangle, Ann Arbor, MI.

8. University of Michigan

$8.3 billion, up 9%

2012 Ranking: No. 7—$7.6 billion

Erik Lundberg, who has been with the university since 1999, is the endowment fund’s CIO.

Texas A&M University Student Rec Center. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

7. Texas A&M University

$8.7 billion, up 14.3%

2012 Ranking: No. 9—$7.6 billion

Eddie Davis, a graduate of the school in 1967, is president of the foundation.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

$11 billion, up 6.8%

2012 Ranking: No. 6—$10.3 billion

The MIT Investment Management Co. is led by its president, Seth Alexander, who came to the school from Yale in 2006.

Princeton University Campus (Photo: AP)

5. Princeton University

$18.2 billion, up 7.4%

2012 Ranking: No. 5—$16.9 billion

The endowment is managed by the Princeton University Investment Co., which is led by its president, Andrew Golden.

Stanford library.

4. Stanford University

$18.6 billion, up 9.7%

2012 Ranking: No. 4—$17 billion

The fund is led by president and CEO John Powers, who joined the Stanford team in 2006. Previously, he had been managing director and director of research at Offitt Hall Capital Management.

The Ashbel Smith building on the campus of the University of Texas Medical System. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

3. University of Texas System

$20.4 billion, up 12%

2012 Ranking: No. 3—$18.2 billion

Bruce Zimmerman is CEO and CIP of the University of Texas Investment Management Co. Under his stewardship, the endowment has regularly beat the market since 2011.

Yale Coat of Arms.

2. Yale University

$20.7 billion, up 7.4%

2012 Ranking: No. 2—$19.3 billion

The Yale Investments Office’s leader is David Swensen, who as CIO pioneered an investment theory that bears his name.

Harvard University Radcliffe Quadrangle.

1. Harvard University

$32.3 billion, up 6.2%

2012 Ranking: No. 1—$30.4 billion

Jane Mendillo is president and CEO of the Harvard Management Co., positions she has held since 2008. Previously, she was CIO of Wellesley College.

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