This marks the for 14th consecutive year the college surpasses the performance of other college endowments
By Steve Yablonski
For the past 14 years, the SUNY Oswego endowment has outperformed the average rates of return among the 705 U.S. colleges and universities who responded to a 2020 survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers — Commonfund Study of Endowments.
This means, according to the college, that SUNY Oswego is a smart investment where donors who invest in the college will see great returns on their philanthropy — both in terms of student outcomes and in the financial returns generated by the college endowment’s performance. They can take pride in knowing their charitable contribution is being stewarded skillfully and is making the biggest impact possible.
The endowment, managed by the Oswego College Foundation Investment Committee, surpassed the performance of other college endowments over a one-year, three-year, five-year and 10-year span. In fact, the Oswego endowment ranked in the top 10% of performers — significantly outperforming the average rate — when looking at the five- and 10-year rates of return.
Mary Canale, vice president for development and alumni engagement, credits the leadership of President Deborah F. Stanley with empowering SUNY Oswego’s robust endowment.
“Early on in her presidency, she recognized the important role that alumni play in the life and prosperity of the college, and she created a senior level position to champion a focused, strategic effort,” Canale said. “She has been inclusive in her thinking and has helped recruit some strong talent with diverse perspectives and experiences to the College Foundation board.”
Canale said the endowment has done so well because of the experience and expertise of the investment committee and board of directors.
SUNY Oswego endowment has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, from $11.5 million in 2011 to more than $50 million in 2021
“While we target a 70% equity and 30% fixed income portfolio very typical of higher education endowments of our size, the committee has the latitude to select individual asset classes within each category. The choices they make, such as being overweight to the large cap US equity markets within our equity allocation or maintaining a higher cash balance within our fixed income allocation, have all allowed slight improvements in our annual rates of return,” Canale said. “This string of annual out-performance, when maintained consistently for so many of the past 15-plus years, has resulted in the very strong long-term results we see in our relative five-year and 10-year rates of return.”
The latest endowment report for SUNY Oswego shows a gain of 4.4%for the past fiscal year, which is 2.6% higher than the average return of 1.8% nationally, according to the 2020 NACUBO-Commonfund Study.
The college also outperformed the national 10-year return average of 7.5% by returning 9.4%. This number is particularly significant because it allows the college to maintain a 5% target spending rate while covering the 10-year inflation rate.
“In short, the strong rate of return enables the college to provide more direct support for our students. During the fiscal year of 2020, the Oswego College Foundation provided $1.18 million in scholarships and student program dollars to SUNY Oswego,” said Canale.
Thanks to the support of SUNY Oswego donors and stewardship of those investments, the overall endowment has grown exponentially over the past 10 years from $11.5 million in 2011 to more than $50 million in 2021.
The endowment is sustained by the support of the donors; thousands of alumni, employees, parents, students and partners who direct their philanthropy to the college every year.
Last fiscal year, more than 5,000 donors made gifts to the college.
“The college is incredibly grateful to the dedicated group of alumni and friends who volunteer their time and expertise to help manage the college investments,” Stanley said in a prepared statement. “Their consistent, exceptional service has helped us maintain a level of excellence in our endowment’s performance that directly benefits our students and enables us to accomplish more as an institution of higher education.”