Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

Cornell's New Chief Investment Officer

As MetaEzra first reported back in February, Donald Fehrs, Cornell’s (largely successful) Chief Investment Officer for the last three years, stepped down this past spring. The University is now announcing his replacement: a British national by the name of James Walsh.

Walsh is fairly young – probably no older than 40 or 45, and was previously the ‘Executive Director of Strategy and Alternatives’ for Hermes, a very large pension and investment management firm in London. Prior to that, he worked for the consulting arm of the same company that publishes everybody’s favorite neo-liberal newsmagazine: The Economist.

Walsh’s forte appears to be the buzzword that everybody is talking about today: hedge funds. Hedge funds are the largely unregulated and speculative financial vehicles that can bring enormous reward—and risk—to investors. Walsh has spoken at conferences on how to best manage a portfolio of hedge funds, and has also been quoted as being bullish on the often risky commodities market.

One can only hope that Walsh will execute Cornell’s endowment with sound management skills as the global economy transitions into a more unpredictable era. And for the time being, I have confidence that he will not treat the University’s entire endowment as a huge hedge fund. Sure, capital appreciation is great, but there is also a lot to be said about capital preservation—especially when the well-being of the university is at stake.

n.b. The Cornell News Service also reports that the University’s endowment now stands at $5 billion dollars. If this is true, this number reflects an incredibly large 33 percent increase over the $3.8 billion reported in 2005 (and even more over the $3.3 billion reported in 2004). It most likely reflects both an increase in investment returns and an increase in giving coinciding with the start of the capital campaign, and most certainly points to the fact that the University's fiscal position is strong and is strengthening.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 02, 2006 (#)

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)