The university’s $370 million endowment saw an energy impact of less than 2 percent on its value as oil and gas prices fell dramatically from last September to the end of December.
Jack Rich, ACU’s chief investment officer, said initially the endowment has not been hurt that significantly by the drop in energy prices despite having a portion of the endowment invested in mineral royalties and private equity.
“We own royalty interest, meaning we own the minerals that are underneath the surface, and most of those have been given to us over time,” Rich said. “The other is we invest in private equity, and that’s investing in private companies that have some relation to the energy market.”
The S&P 500, an index of the stock prices of 500 large U.S. companies, went down 3 percent in January.
“We don’t own that much of the S&P, but that just shows that investments can be very volatile,” he said.
The university’s endowment is made up of gifts given by donors for the long-term benefit of the university. Rich said return on the endowment provides about $17 million annually to support scholarships and operations.
“We had a good year this past year,” he said. “We’re still one of the better performing endowments in terms of our investment return, in terms of the long-term. About 20 years ago, it was about $50 million, and today it is about $370 million, and that has come through a combination of investment growth and new gifts that come in.”