Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Christopher J. Ryan, Jr. recently published an Article entitled, Trusting U.: Examining University Endowment Management, 42 J.C. & U.L. 159 (2016). Provided below is a summary of the Article:
This article aims to bring to light the endowment management practices that resulted in this unprecedented growth and loss to endowment value on a national scale. Part I of this article examines the history of university endowments in America and provides a primer on the function of university endowments. In Part II, this article introduces the legal requirements of universities and their endowment managers that have sprung up as a result of the historical economic crises that university endowments have weathered. Part III furnishes data on the effect of the recent economic recession on university endowments, examining returns under a hypothetical alternative investment strategy that would have resulted in greater appreciation in market value and increased market stability between FY2004 and 2014 for half of the universities in the study sample, and also discusses the prevailing, though useless, cause of action by means of which donors may challenge a university's endowment spending, establishing a correlation between economic recessions and challenged gifts to universities in the American courts. Finally, Part IV offers recommendations for universities and their endowment managers to navigate uncertain waters in the modern context and articulates a sensible, sustainable university endowment management standard.