B Y T H E N U M B E R S
On March 25, 1745, 10 men executed pledges totaling 185 pounds "for the purpose of Erecting a Collegiate School in the province of New Jersey for the instructing of youth in the Learned Languages, Liberal Arts and Sciences.'' The pledges were made a year and a half before the first charter establishing the College of New Jersey -- now Princeton University -- was granted.
The document provided that only the interest earned on the principal sum could be expended for current purposes -- namely, the payment of the president's salary and the salaries of tutors -- and that the principal was to be continuously reinvested to generate income for the future.
These modest pledges, whose value proved to be less than the president's annual salary, marked the beginning of Princeton's endowment.
Today, Princeton's endowment is the fourth largest in the country, with a value of more than $8.3 billion as of June 30, 2002. (Harvard, the University of Texas and Yale have larger endowments.) The endowment is invested in a diversified group of assets, including domestic and international stocks and bonds, independent return managers, private equity, venture capital, real estate and other assets not traded on organized trading markets.
Princeton's portfolio has historically experienced solid returns. The total return on Princeton's endowment -- defined as "dividends and interest on portfolio holdings, plus or minus capital appreciation or depreciation" -- was equivalent to approximately 15 percent per year over the 25-year period ending June 30, 2002.
Sources: "A Princeton Companion" by Alexander Leitch and "Princeton University Profile, 2002-03."
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Editor: Ruth Stevens
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Staff writers: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Steven Schultz
Contributing writers: Karin Dienst, Eric Quinones, Evelyn Tu
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett, Laurel Masten Cantor, Margaret Westergaard
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett