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Endowment Management > Philosophy

Advancing our mission today, and in the future

The generosity of the university’s alumni and friends has allowed the creation or completion of 83 endowed professorships since the start of the Forward Thinking capital campaign. These awards, considered among the highest honors a member of the faculty can receive, allow the university to recruit, recognize and retain truly outstanding scholars.

One of the professorships announced during Fiscal Year 2016, for example, went to Mark Griswold, the university’s leader for its collaboration with Cleveland Clinic using the Microsoft HoloLens to create a three-dimensional digital anatomy course for medical students. Another supported the recruitment of Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, a scientist world renowned for his work in AIDS research, human immunology and immunotherapy.

Contributions to scholarships represent another way that donors make an enormous difference to the university today and for generations to come. Since the campaign began, commitments for undergraduate, graduate and professional student scholarships have totaled nearly $200 million. This support not only makes a Case Western Reserve education possible for some admitted students, it also allows the institution to compete effectively to enroll some of the nation’s most outstanding young people.

One high-achieving student from Cleveland had family income so low she doubted she could afford to go to any college. Thanks to a university scholarship, she is not only attending Case Western Reserve, but also double-majoring and working as a student assistant in a clinical trials unit. Scholarship support made another admitted student choose CWRU over the Ivy League institution that admitted him; during his time on campus he has been active in undergraduate student government, Greek Life, and volunteering at the local free medical clinic, while also developing nanodiamonds in a chemical engineering research lab.

Those are examples from today. Decades from now, when holographic courses dominate education, AIDS is cured, and nanodiamonds commonplace, still more faculty and students will be able to pursue new knowledge and deepen understanding thanks to endowment commitments made in this generation.

The students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of Case Western Reserve are profoundly grateful to all who have supported the university’s mission by making endowment gifts throughout our history.

Investment Approach

Case Western Reserve balances two priorities in managing its investments: significant growth of the endowment and avoidance of undue risk involving its funds. These imperatives reflect the institution’s commitment to serve those now on the campus as well as the many generations who follow them. It is the university’s obligation to serve as a responsible steward of all contributions received, and at the same time ensure that the funds accumulate adequate interest to preserve and increase the gift’s original total. To achieve this goal, the university’s portfolio is allocated across a broad range of areas, among them domestic and foreign public equities, fixed-income funds, private capital and real assets.

Case Western Reserve’s Office of Investment manages endowment funds held directly by the university. In addition to seeking growth without incurring significant losses, the office also must preserve adequate liquidity to meet ongoing needs as specified by donors and direct by the university’s Board of Trustees. The board annually allocates a portion of returns to support the overall operations of the university and the actual management of the funds.