In a world where all revenue at universities is important, St. Thomas is taking action by increasing expertise in the area of investing the endowment and other net assets. The university is launching a new in-house Investment Office, which will be led by higher education investing veteran Sonali Dalal.
“Universities have long focused on revenue from tuition and philanthropy; now we are providing increased focus on ensuring that the university gets the best long-term returns on our invested assets,” said Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer. “In part we are doing this by moving to an in-house Investment Office with more focus on St. Thomas and its $900 million of investments and less reliance on external advisers.”
Dalal, who will be joining St. Thomas as vice president and chief investment officer, is a 19-year veteran of investing at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), where she is currently the deputy chief investment officer. Dalal joined Penn State early after the Investment Office was moved in-house and was instrumental in the growth of their invested assets including market returns and donations from $900 million to more than $6 billion during her tenure. Prior to that, Dalal had roles at Export-Import Bank of India and Lloyds Finance.
“Sonali’s track record of success at Penn State has been very impressive,” Interim President Rob Vischer said. “I look forward to her contributions on the President’s Cabinet and welcoming her to campus.”
Dalal holds the designation of chartered financial analyst. She is also an alumna of Penn State, where she received her MBA in finance. Dalal holds the chartered accountant designation (CPA equivalent) and an undergraduate degree in commerce and accounting from The Bombay University, India.
“Sonali is a strategic thinker and communicator whose track record as an investor, an analyst and an executive manager is impressive,” said Andrew Duff, former CEO of Piper Jaffray and chair of the Investment Committee for the St. Thomas Board of Trustees, who was actively involved in the hiring process. “We are thrilled she is joining the St. Thomas team.”
Dalal will start in August and will report to both Vangsgard and Vischer.