|Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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David Swensen, '75, Receives Honorary Doctorate
“Dr. David Swensen is one of UW-River Falls's greatest success stories,” noted Chancellor Don Betz in announcing that the chief investment officer of the Yale Endowment would be recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by UWRF at its May 17 commencement ceremony.
Swensen manages one of the most successful higher education endowments in the nation. Under his leadership, the Yale Endowment has grown from $1.3 billion to more than $22.5 billion and has reaped returns on investments that have outpaced all other Ivy League institutions. Through frequent lectures and his best-selling book, “Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Advancement,” Swensen has helped other fund managers achieve success as well. He also teaches one of the most popular classes at Yale under the auspices of its Department of Economics.
“His dedication to using his exceptional skills to advance the education of students and to address the pressing issues of our day, all for the benefit of society, are a living testimony to the values that we seek to reinforce in our students: a commitment to integrity, personal discipline and continuous improvement,” said Betz.
Swensen was named a Distinguished Alumnus of UWRF back in 1996 and hails from a family with exceptional ties to the university. His father, Richard Swensen, is a former dean of the UWRF College of Arts and Sciences; five of his siblings are graduates; and his brother, Stephen, and his uncle, Glen Hartman, also have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus award.
“He is a member of one of UWRF's extraordinary families,” said Betz. “In our honoring of Dr. Swensen, we are recognizing the ethos of his family that instilled the values that have contributed to his success.”
Upon learning of the award, Swensen responded with characteristic humility: “The education that I received from the university's extraordinary faculty provided a strong foundation for my post-graduate studies and contributed immeasurably to my lifelong love of learning. I owe UWRF a great deal. UWRF embodies the educational ideals that I have worked to advance throughout my career. I am thrilled to be recognized by the university with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.”
Swensen was nominated for the award by the UWRF Faculty Senate Honorary Doctorate Committee and approved by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
“His accomplishments are a reflection of UWRF's vision and values,” summarized Betz. “We are pleased to recognize him with this award, and we are honored that he credits our university with starting him on the pathway that has led to his exceptional contributions to society.”
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