Category Archives: Endowments, Fund-raising and Philanthropy

With a $14.5 Billion Endowment, Are UVa Leaders Accountable to Anyone But Themselves?

This graph shows how UVIMCO divvies up its $14.5 billion endowment from an investment perspective.

by James A. Bacon

The University of Virginia endowment racked up a breathtaking 49% investment return in the year ending June 30, 2021, bringing the total value of the university’s investments to $14.5 billion, reports the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO) in its 2020-21 annual report.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

On the one hand, powerful investment returns supports initiatives such as the recently announced allocation of $50 million dollars for merit-based scholarships and aid to needy undergraduate students.¬†On the other hand, such spectacular financial performance — almost $5 billion in a single year — makes the university leadership less accountable to tuition-paying students and parents, to the Commonwealth of Virginia which funds millions in state support, and to alumni whose individual donations are paltry by comparison.

Come to think of it, I’m even agnostic on whether the $50 million in new scholarship money is a good thing or not. Continue reading

A Glimpse into UVa’s Fund-Raising Juggernaut

Bright shiny object: the proposed $48 million Data Science building.

by James A. Bacon

Alumni unhappy about recent developments at the niversity of Virginia claim to have withdrawn $150 million or more in pledged financial support for the institution. Money talks in academia as elsewhere. President Jim Ryan and Rector James Murray have engaged disgruntled grads in spoken and written communications and have given them the courtesy of thoughtful (albeit inadequate) responses.

But there is little indication that anything will change. In last week’s Board of Visitors meeting, not one of the issues raised by the insurgent alumni was discussed — not the “F— UVA” sign on the Lawn, not the purging of names from buildings and grounds of once-prominent figures now deemed racist, not the increasing intolerance of non-leftist viewpoints that is strangling intellectual diversity and leaving a majority of students reluctant to speak their opinions openly.

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