Curious how the Williams endowment is doing? David asked about this earlier, and even came up with a forecast, but now we have some actual numbers. The Record reports, in an annoyingly vague fashion, that the total value of the endowment dropped 5% between June, 2007 and June, 2008. There is no information at all as to how much of this loss can be attributed to increased expenditure, a slowdown in donations, or market losses.

The Record reporter throws in references to general market events that may or may not have had a direct impact on endowment performance. It would be nice to see a little more transparency regarding the actual asset classes the endowment is invested in, and how each segment of the portfolio performed. Also, it would be interesting to see what Collete Chilton might have to say about the College’s investment strategy, lessons learned in the last year, or ongoing hiring/firing of money managers.

Such transparency would be far more helpful than the kind of vague comments we get from Ms. Chilton. I suppose it’s too much to ask reporters to actually dig for answers as opposed to merely taking down dictation from administrators. I mean, yes, I realize that Record writers are basically unpaid volunteers working on tight deadlines, but this article betrays an unbelievable lack of curiosity on the part of the Williams Record. The endowment is incredibly important to the functioning and growth of the college, and yet I have seen press releases that are more incisive than this write up.

That being said, this must rank among the most valuable internship opportunities available to any Williams student – kudos to the investment office for putting it together:

This summer marked the inaugural year of the investment office’s summer internship program. Beginning with a structured training program in June, the interns – Rick Devlin ’09 and Caitlin McGugan ’09 – spent about nine weeks working full-time with the investment office, after which they “spent the summer learning all aspects of endowment investment management,” Chilton said. “The interns had the opportunity to see all parts of the investment program for the College.”

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