Yale University’s chief investment officer David Swensen, a legend in the world of institutional investing, has died after a long battle with cancer.
The Ivy League school’s president, Peter Salovey, announced Thursday that Swensen died the evening of May 5. “David’s ideas reverberated beyond Yale as he revolutionized the landscape of institutional investing,” Salovey said in his statement remembering the CIO’s innovative approach to managing the school’s endowment.
Swensen, who earned a Ph.D. in economics from Yale in 1980 and worked on Wall Street, is famous for developing what is known as the “Yale Model.” The investing approach embraced riskier alternative assets such as private equity and became a model used by many other university endowments and foundations.
“With his guidance, Yale’s endowment yielded returns that established him as a legend among institutional investors,” Salovey said. “A natural teacher, he prepared a generation of institutional investors who have gone on to lead investment offices at other colleges and universities.”
Swensen, who worked for Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers before returning to Yale in 1985 to lead its investments office, lectured over the years at Yale College and the School of Management, according to the statement.
In a twitter post Thursday morning, Yale finance professor William Goetzmann said Swensen “left a remarkable legacy: a distinctive investment model anchored in humanism, and a commitment to sharing his knowledge.”