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Willamette University Endowment Fund

Name: ASWU Endowment

Assets Under Management: $448.7 Million (Source: Willamette University on 5/31/2014)

Annual Report: Willamette University Statements of Financial Position May 31, 2014 and May 31, 2013

Portfolio Insights: Willamette University (the University) is a private institution of higher education accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The University offers students a number of graduate and undergraduate degrees in programs covering a wide variety of scholastic disciplines. The University is an Oregon not-for-profit organization funded by student tuition revenue, endowment income, and outside contributions.

The University’s investment portfolio has been divided into five investment categories: fixed income funds, equity strategy funds, real assets, hedge funds, and other investments. Asset allocations are determined by the Endowment Committee and are reviewed at least annually. Fixed income funds are used to provide a hedge against deflation and a stable component of return. Equity strategy funds are selected to provide principal appreciation that exceeds inflation. Some equity strategy investments may be illiquid, like private equity, venture capital, and distressed debt. The expected return on illiquid investments is greater than marketable securities. (Source)

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Top Willamette University Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) The ASWU Endowment was created in 2001 as a one-time investment in the Willamette University Endowment Fund after a budget surplus carry-over of $33,000 during 2000-2001 fiscal year. In 2001, ASWU VP of Finance, Andrew Cockrell, encouraged Finance Board to make a fiscally responsible investment of the windfall into the Willamette Endowment in trust for the student body. The Finance Board recommended an initial allocation of $10,000. This investment was to be the first step in a journey of designing the financial stability and sustainability of student activities and organizations at Willamette University. During the 2002-2003 academic year, the Finance Board endorsed the recommendation of VP of Finance, John Turner to invest an additional $10,000 into the Endowment.

The purpose of the ASWU Endowment is simply to empower student organizations and provide a financial reality for the dreams and visions of students at Willamette. The Endowment could finance the purchase of lights and SFX equipment for ASWU sound, help buy the hardware for the WIRE’s move to a low or high power FM station, or fund the construction of a student organization resource room in a new Student Center. (Source)

2) Oregon Gamma Phi Andrés Oswill was elected as the new associated student body president at Willamette University earlier this week. An open letter was released and sent to the student body before the elections that listed his platform as “safety, communication and student empowerment.” These three topics were the basis of his campaign from asking his fellow students and developing an agenda toward their needs. As a rising senior, Brother Oswill has balanced his duties as a senator of the student body and fulfilled duties as Phi Delta Theta vice president, risk management chairman, and is currently serving as Phikeia Co-Educator. (Source)

3) The Willamette University Endowment has committed a total of $89 million across 13 different private equity funds. There is exposure to all broad styles, types and sizes of private equity funds from primary and secondary funds to direct private equity and fund-of-funds. The breakdown by style of all capital committed by Willamette: seven buyout funds (54%), two mezzanine funds (16%), two venture funds (13%), a distressed debt fund (3%) and a Private REIT (14%). While there is a clear concentration on buyout funds, this private equity portfolio is diversified across all sizes and all four types of buyout funds. The private equity funds are heavily focused on alternative energy, clean technology and healthcare. The Willamette University Endowment has direct primary exposure to these sectors through the Cadent Energy Fund, TCW European Clean Energy Fund and Pinnacle Ventures Equity Fund. (Source)

4) Willamette University provides rigorous education in the liberal arts and selected professional fields. Teaching and learning, strengthened by scholarship and service, flourish in a vibrant campus community. A Willamette education prepares graduates to transform knowledge into action and lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning. (Source)

5) Willamette’s president serves as its chief executive officer, appointed by the Willamette University Board of Trustees. Together with the president and in accordance with the university’s mission, the board sets the strategic direction for the university. The president develops and implements the university’s strategic plan and assesses progress towards stated goals. As ex-officio chair of the faculty, the president has administrative oversight of academic matters and also oversees campus operations and functions.

The president serves as the ‘public face’ of Willamette University to the campus and Salem communities, the region, the nation and the world, celebrating the efforts and achievements of the university’s three colleges: The College of Liberal Arts, College of Law, and Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Through development and fund-raising activities, public appearances and outreach locally, nationally and internationally, the president continually promotes Willamette as place of academic rigor and excellence, invigorated by its distinctive motto, “Not Unto Ourselves Alone Are We Born.” (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson