With Anonymous $20M Gift, Yale SOM Launches New Asset Management Institute

Yale School of Management’s new academic center will further the study and practice of asset management by supporting research, convening thought leaders, and funding scholarships for students.

From New Haven, Connecticut: The Yale School of Management has established the Swensen Asset Management Institute with the support of a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor, and has appointed Tobias J. Moskowitz the institute’s inaugural director.

The new institute is named for David F. Swensen ’80 Ph.D., the longtime Yale chief investment officer whose investment performance became a byword for excellence guided by a set of values, ethical rigor, and a sense of purpose. The Swensen Institute will build on that legacy of principled investment and strengthen SOM’s mission of educating leaders for business and society.

The cornerstone gift is among the most significant the school has received. Kerwin K. Charles, Yale SOM’s dean, says the new Swensen Institute reflects the school’s founding principles.

“Asset management is a field where financial and societal interests are inseparably intertwined,” Charles says. “Skillful investment managers further all kinds of social goals—including fortifying university endowments, ensuring the strength of the funds that support individuals in retirement, and allocating capital to high-impact, high-growth businesses. The Swensen Institute will build on SOM’s tradition of phenomenal academic work in the area of finance and further amplify our ability to impact this critical field by demonstrating how effective, principled, and values-based asset management serves both business and society.”

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Brian Trelstad is an alumnus of Harvard College, where he received a degree in Social Studies; he also received an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford. Harvard photo

Harvard names long-time prof to head leadership initiative

From Cambridge, Massachusetts: Brian Trelstad, senior lecturer of business administration and Joseph L. Rice III Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School, will become the next faculty chair of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative beginning this month.

In his new position, Trelstad will succeed Meredith Rosenthal, C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics and Policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who has served as ALI faculty chair since January 2019 and, prior to that, as an ALI faculty board member since 2016. In collaboration with faculty across Harvard, Trelstad will advance ALI’s mission to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector. He will continue his affiliation with the Harvard Business School, where he teaches elective courses on social entrepreneurship and systems change and required courses on the role of business in society.

“Brian brings to ALI deep experience in training leaders to support efforts for social good,” said John H. Shaw, the University’s vice provost for research. “His commitment to understanding innovation and how it drives social and environmental change makes him the right person to carry forward ALI’s mission of empowering leaders to contribute solutions to complex problems.”

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Florida university system imposes 5-year tenure review; profs, others criticize the change 

From Tallahassee, Florida: Florida’s state university system is making major changes to long-time tenure protections, meaning that established professors would have to undergo a review every five years to determine the faculty members’ “productivity.”

However, Florida-based professors and other advocates say that the new rule, approved by the Florida Board of Governors Wednesday, could hurt academic freedom and impact a faculty members’ livelihood.

The move is the latest in what many are calling a war on education in Florida, led by Governor Ron DeSantis as he plans a likely presidential bid.

Like DeSantis’ other moves in the education arena, the issue of Florida’s five-year post-tenure evaluations, among other changes to the state’s universities, is getting nationwide criticism from multiple organizations, including American Association of University Professors, the American Psychological Association, Modern Language Association, and American Historical Association and a dozen others.

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