Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Interesting Vanity Fair piece on how Harvard's endowment is crashing--and taking the University with it.

There are a couple of neat tidbits. Larry Summers comes off as arrogant, but visionary. It also looks like a huge reason for Harvard's endowment is cratering is that the University scared away their big investment manager over compensation packages.

That is, because they didn't appreciate the investment staff making millions of dollars, they wound up losing billions. Sometimes, high compensation is deserved.

It's sad that University Presidents today are no longer in the same caliber as a Harper or Hutchins. They have more money than ever, but continue to blow it on landscaping and daycare for spoilt rich kids. They could use that to transform higher ed, find a cure to cancer, or other useful things. Summers understood that potential. His successors don't, and due to their tight-fistedness over manager compensation, they don't have the money to execute on that vision anyway.

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