Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Gifting at UC slips in rankings

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

University of Cincinnati has slipped four spots in a national ranking of endowments, making it the 48th largest in the country in a survey that examined both public and private universities.

Endowments are gifts to the university. They usually are invested in stock.

School administrators met Monday with UC's finance committee and President Nancy Zimpher in a two-hour session to discuss the financial condition of the university.

A weak economy and conservative investment strategies caused UC to under-perform compared with other universities that have endowments of similar size. The institution was still able to distribute more than $45 million, however, to colleges to support their programs throughout the fiscal year.

"I think everybody is incredibly concerned about it," Zimpher said, adding that as the state reduces its share of instructional support, it becomes even more important for the university to develop a financial stability plan that it can control.

In 2002, the National Association of College and University Business Officers ranked UC's endowment as the 44th largest among public and private universities. Preliminary results of the 2003 study showed UC's endowment, at $873.3 million June 30, dropped to 48th.

In August 2000, the endowment reached the coveted $1 billion mark, but quickly dropped. UC officials say preliminary numbers for the month of October show the endowment is back up to $929 million. To more aggressively manage the funds, UC will hire a chief investment officer, who will focus on the school's investment strategies and the endowment.

"We're a big institution," said UC Treasurer Gerry Siegert. "We've got a lot of money we're responsible for so let's do what's right for the institution."


E-mail kgoetz@enquirer.com

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