David Swensen passed away this week. As head of the Yale University endowment fund, he is widely credited with developing a new way to manage money for long-lived institutions like endowments, foundations, sovereign wealth and pension funds. You may hear it called the ‘Yale Model.’

From the very earliest days of Abnormal Returns we have noted items about Swensen. For the class I taught on alternative investments the only book I assigned was Swensen’s book Pioneering Portfolio Management. Swensen’s impact on the industry is undeniable, but more important are the many kind remembrances that his friends and colleagues had of him. Some items from the past week follow:


David Swensen, Yale Endowment Chief Who Changed the Course of Institutional Investing (WSJ)

David Swensen, Who Revolutionized Endowment Investing, Dies at 67 (New York Times)

Yale endowment chief David Swensen dies (FT)


‘Self confident yet selfless’ – Yale University

There’s David Swensen, Warren Buffett and Everyone Else – John Authers

Yale’s Swensen Leaves Legacy of Proteges Across Investing – Bloomberg

Friends and Colleagues Remember David Swensen – Institutional Investor

David Swensen, the Yale who reshaped investing – FT

David Swensen, The Greatest Investor You Maybe Never Heard Of, Leaves Powerful Legacy – NPR

My thoughts on David Swensen’s Passing – Ted Seides


The (Easily Misunderstood) Yale Model – Charley Ellis

Why David Swensen is the Roger Federer of Investing – Ted Seides

David Swensen is Great for Yale. Is He Horrible for Investing? – Leanna Orr


The Yale Endowment 2020 Annual Report – Yale University

ECON 252: Financial Markets (Guest Lecture by David Swensen)  – Open Yale Courses

A Conversation with David Swensen (and Robert Rubin) – Council on Foreign Relations


Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment (2009, Revised)

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment (2005)

RIP, David.

*The Wall Street Journal reports on the succession process at Yale.