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Bucknell University Endowment Fund

Name: The Investment Office at Bucknell

Assets Under Management: $751 Million (Source: Bucknell University on 8/6/2014)

Annual Report: Bucknell University Consolidated Financial Statements June 30, 2013

Portfolio Insights: “Bucknell University is a private, not-for-profit institution of higher education in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Bucknell University provides education services at the graduate and undergraduate levels. These consolidated financial statements include Bucknell University, Bison Ventures, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary formed in May 2009, and Bucknell Real Estate, Inc, a tax-exempt title holding company formed in October 2010 (collectively, University). All significant intercompany balances have been eliminated in preparing these consolidated financial statements (financial statements).

The significant accounting policies followed by the University are described below to enhance the usefulness of the financial statements to the reader.” (Source)

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Top Bucknell University Headlines:

1) Jul 9, 2007 – Christopher Brown was named chief investment officer for the $600 million endowment of Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa. It is a new position; the fund had been managed by the university’s investment committee and members of its finance department.

Bucknell is in the midst of a fund-raising campaign and an initiative to expand the university’s campus, both of which will help significantly increase its endowment, Mr. Brown said in an interview.

Mr. Brown, a 1981 graduate of Bucknell, was a senior vice president and portfolio manager for large-cap growth equities at GE Asset Management. His responsibilities have been assumed by Tom Lincoln, senior vice president and portfolio manager on the GE Asset’s large-cap team, said spokesman Chris Linehan. (Source)

2) Despite a struggling economy, Bucknell University’s latest fundraising campaign has already reached record levels with more than $100 million in pledges over the past 18 months.

However, ripples from the financial crisis have hit campus, resulting in a one-year wage freeze for Bucknell employees, including President Brian Mitchell, who said any performance-based bonuses he earns will be given back to establish a need-based scholarship for students. The wage freeze will be in effect during the 2009 fiscal year which begins on July 1. The wage decision was made last weekend by the university’s board of trustees at its winter retreat.

“With great reluctance, but with a realistic assessment of budgetary realities, the board has determined that the university is unable to increase faculty or staff compensation in the coming fiscal year,” said Mitchell, adding that salaries and benefits make up 59 percent of Bucknell’s operating budget. “The board reached this decision only after careful analysis of the budgetary situation and a frank assessment of the economic conditions that the university is facing.” (Source)

3) Bucknell University President John Bravman said a couple pledged the money to express their support for the school in light of the scandal. The donation came just days after the small liberal arts school in Lewisburg reported that mean SAT results for incoming freshmen were overstated by an average of 16 points between 2006 and 2012.

Bravman calls the gift the third-largest pledge in school history. He says the funds will go toward the university’s scholarship endowment. The president also notes Bucknell’s U.S. News & World Report ranking was unaffected by the false data. (Source)

4) Jun 28, 2011 – Bucknell University’s roughly $548 million endowment has been progressive, gravitating toward tactical bets usually made by much larger peers. Led by CIO Chris Brown, the school has moved its bond portfolio out of long-term U.S. Treasuries due to a belief that interest rates will rise, investing in short-duration bonds until the time comes to pounce. In addition, the fund axed a fund of hedge funds manager in favor of a global macro fund. “They’re adding strategies that somebody their size wouldn’t be able to do, or wouldn’t think about doing,” said Jeff Muehlethaler, a marketer for PIMCO.

The endowment’s hands-on approach has been a result of Brown’s focus on price risk in the fund’s portfolio. As a result, the fund’s hedging has led to solid returns. Bucknell returned 14.7% for the fiscal year ending June 30–besting the average university endowment return of 11.9%, according to NACUBO-Commonfund’s annual study. (Source)

5) Bucknell University’s accounting and financial management major is designed to merge the accounting and finance disciplines, emphasizing both practical accounting skills and more theoretical concepts like financial analysis. Small class sizes encourage dynamic group discussions and enable students to collaborate with each other and with the dedicated faculty. Upon graduation, Bucknell students should be prepared to face the challenging demands of the work force, whether they pursue careers in public accounting, corporate business, or government. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson