Trustees explain endowment losses and budget plans

Submitted by Emily G. Boutilier

By last summer, the Amherst endowment had reached an all-time high of $1.7 billion, representing a 5 percent increase in value during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008. “We actually felt quite good,” says Bill Ford ’83, a member of the Amherst Board of Trustees and chair of its investment committee. “And then, the world turned against us.”

Ford spoke on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at an open forum for students, faculty and staff in a crowded Johnson Chapel. He, along with two other trustees—board chairman Jide Zeitlin ’85 and budget and finance committee chairman Steven Gluckstern ’72—discussed and answered questions about the college’s endowment, investment strategy, overall budget and pending budget cuts. They tried to explain what has happened over the past several months and how the college will move forward.