Bucking the national trend, the latest endowment report for SUNY Oswego shows a gain of 1 percent for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which is 2.9 percent higher than the average return of -1.9 percent nationally, according to the 2016 National Association of College and University Business Officers—Commonfund Study of Endowments, released in March 2017. The college also outperformed the national 10-year return average of 5 percent by returning 7.2 percent. This number is particularly significant because it allows the college to maintain a 5-percent target spending rate while covering the 10-year inflation rate of 1.7 percent.
Using data collected from 805 participating U.S. colleges and universities, the study showed that SUNY Oswego is fairly unique in being able to cover its costs and maintain its usual 5-percent endowment spending.
“Our most recent campaign and the generous gifts of more than 16,000 donors had an incredible impact on the overall growth of our endowment,” said President Deborah F. Stanley. “We are grateful to all of our donors, and our incredible College Foundation Board of Directors and Investment Committee have been instrumental in our success. They have done a remarkable job in stewarding the gifts made to the college, so that we are able to maintain our deep commitment to student support and hands-on experiences.”
SUNY Oswego’s results exceeded the one-year, three-year, five-year and 10-year performance of its peer group of colleges with $25 million to $50 million endowments, as well as its aspirational peer group of universities with endowments over $1 billion. See chart above.
“The latest survey results continue the trend of SUNY Oswego’s endowment outperforming peers, and we take our fiduciary responsibilities very seriously,” said Mary Gibbons Canale ’81, president of the College Foundation and vice president of development and alumni relations. “Our alumni and friends know that the college will do its best to ensure that their gifts are invested wisely to ensure the full benefit for SUNY Oswego students.”
On June 30, 2016, the college completed the largest campaign in its history, raising $43.48 million during With Passion & Purpose and increasing the endowment from $11.5 million to more than $33.5 million today.
“Our goal is to never take undue current risk and to focus on the long term—never stretching for short-term performance while potentially risking long-term success,” said Mark Slayton, Oswego College Foundation director of finance. “The campaign results, combined with the strong relative investment return performance, resulted in Oswego finishing 10th on the list of 815 participating institutions in endowment growth, with an overall 28.8-percent growth rate.”
Canale also credited the endowment’s success to the diligent work of Slayton, the College Foundation’s board and the investment committee.
“We have a great group of dedicated individuals who want to see the college not just succeed, but thrive,” she said.