Columbia Investments Gained 24% in Past Year, Topping Ivies

Columbia University’s investments returned 24 percent in the past fiscal year, placing the school ahead of Harvard and Yale with the top-performing endowment in the Ivy League.

The endowment was valued at $7.8 billion as of June 30, the New York school said today in a statement.

Endowments at the richest U.S. universities have risen for two consecutive years, following record losses in the aftermath of the September 2008 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy. Investments at the $19.4 billion fund at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, gained 22 percent. Harvard University, the world’s richest school with a $32 billion fund, increased 21 percent.

In the 10 years ending June 30, Columbia’s investments generated an average annual gain of 9.9 percent, compared with the 10.1 percent increase of Yale, the best-performing Ivy League institution. Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, averaged a 9.4 percent gain over the period.

All of the Ivy League schools except Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have reported yearly results. The group consists of eight selective private schools in the northeastern U.S.

Dartmouth Trails

Princeton University on Oct. 7 said investments at the New Jersey-based school’s $17.1 billion endowment returned 22 percent in the past fiscal year, while the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia said Sept. 15 its $6.58 billion fund gained 19 percent, helped by rising stock markets. Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said Sept. 28 that its $5.35 billion fund climbed 20 percent.

Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire, is the worst performer so far in the Ivy League. The university said Sept. 28 that investments rose 18 percent for the year ended June 30, boosted by stocks and venture capital and gains across asset classes. Investment returns helped increase the endowment to $3.41 billion, after more than $40 million in new gifts and transfers, partly offset by distributions, Dartmouth said.

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