What was David Swensen's net worth? Inside Yale endowment chief's fortune as he loses cancer battle at 67

Swensen, who was a Yale alumnus himself, quit his high-paying corporate job in 1985 to work for his alma mater and changed the course of history

                            What was David Swensen's net worth? Inside Yale endowment chief's fortune as he loses cancer battle at 67
David Swensen is known for revolutionizing institutional investment (yale.edu)

David Swensen, the man who redefined institutional investing during his lifelong stint as endowment chief of Yale University, has died at the age of 67. He breathed his last on May 5 after losing a prolonged cancer battle.

The news of his death was announced in an elaborate statement issued by Peter Salovey, the president of Yale University. "I write with profound sadness to share the news that David Swensen, Yale’s chief investment officer, died yesterday evening after a long and courageous battle with cancer. David served our university with distinction. He was an exceptional colleague, a dear friend, and a beloved mentor to many in our community. Future generations will benefit from his dedication, brilliance, and generosity," an excerpt from the statement read. 


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What is David Swensen's net worth?

After pursuing PhD in economics from Yale, Swensen went on to work for a corporate firm. But within five years, he quit his high-paying job to return to his alma mater for leading the investments office at Yale. Under Swensen's efficient and unparalleled acumen, Yale's endowment grew leaps and bounds over the years. According to Wall Street Journal, Yale's endowment was valued at $1B when Swensen started working in 1985. In 2020, the endowment was estimated to be a staggering $31.2 billion. 

Swensen can be solely credited for changing the course of institutional investment by diversifying the investment portfolio. He went on to inspire many with his policies and his approach was adopted to run endowments of major universities and foundations. Swensen was the highest-paid employee at Yale University for quite a few years. In 2015, he earned $4.2M from the University, according to Yale News. His compensation comprised his salary, bonus, benefits as well as deferred compensation.  

'Such a legend, what a legacy'

Swensen is survived by his wife and former tennis coach at Yale, Meghan McMahon, and three children. His death was mourned by prominent Yale alumni and financiers on Twitter and other social media platforms. 

"So so saddened to learn of the passing of David Swensen. David revolutionized endowment investing, but less well-known is that he was truly wise, generous, fair, gentle, and decent, a man of rare grace and principle who loved his family, Yale, friends, colleagues, & life itself," tweeted Richard N Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. "Such a legend, what a legacy... David Swensen, the pioneering Yale University endowment chief who changed the course of institutional investing, has died," tweeted Chris Fralic from First Round.

"David Swensen has died. Arguably the man most responsible for the growth of venture capital, from the perspective of increased LP capital," journalist Dan Primack wrote. "David Swensen's "ideas reverberated beyond Yale as he revolutionized the landscape of institutional investing. His approach, which has become known as the 'Yale Model,' is now the standard for many university and foundation endowments," tweeted business journalist David Gura. 





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