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University leadership reports drop in endowment returns during town halls

In the first in-person staff town halls since 2019, University executive leadership addressed the endowment, long-term projects, diversity and inclusion and concerns over a possible recession.

Endowment returns drop 6.9%

Endowment returns decreased 6.9% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, executive vice president Shannon Cullinan reported. Nationally, colleges felt a steep drop in returns after a record-breaking previous year, with a median of a 7.8% decrease. Cullinan cited the University’s Investment Office and fundraising teams for the numbers.

“Compared to benchmarks that were down 13 to 15%, we did really well,” Cullinan said.

The endowment serves as the University’s largest revenue source, Cullinan said, making up around 38% of its total budget through more than 7,400 funds.

When asked how the possible recession might affect employment at Notre Dame, Cullinan said the University enters it in “a place of strength” and would communicate often and clearly on any effects on positions, wages or furloughs.

University leans into reputation as center for research

Provost John McGreevy reported two large-scale, interdisciplinary projects in the works that the University hopes will spur change in the next decade.

The first — a bioengineering and life science initiative — will take bioengineering innovations and consider how to make them readily available for the next generation of doctors. The other project is a potential clinic in South Bend to provide mental health services to both Notre Dame students and the city’s residents.

President’s Office reports over 900 diversity campaigns

University President Fr. John Jenkins previously spoke to faculty in September to outline strategic goals in messaging to situate Notre Dame among the top-performing research schools in the world.

In a presubmitted question, a faculty member asked about an update to diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. Jenkins responded by referencing the recent hire of the The Rev. Hugh Page as the first vice president for institutional transformation. Currently, Jenkins said there are 900 total efforts for diversity and inclusion on campus.

“What Hugh and his team are looking at now is ‘how effective are those?’” Jenkins said. “And if there’s a most effective, let’s put our energy into that.”

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu

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