The Investment Office oversees the majority of the assets invested for the benefit of the University of Tennessee, including Charitable Remainder Trusts and the Endowment.


Charitable Remainder Trusts

Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) are separate legal entities that offer both an investment plan to a beneficiary and a charitable gift to the University. The first trust was established in 1965 and benefitted the University of Tennessee Library Endowment. Today, the University utilizes BNY Mellon Wealth Management for trust administration, investment management, and tax reporting. More information about trusts can be found by selecting Give to UT in the Quick Links section.



In 1954, the University adopted the policy of pooling endowed gifts into a single, comingled investment vehicle, the Endowment. This approach allowed for closer supervision of the assets and enabled all endowed funds to benefit from a broadly diversified portfolio. In 1981, the University expanded the investment mandate to gain broader exposure to the capital markets, including non-traditional assets. Finally, in late 1993, the University formally adopted a “total return” approach to investment management.

The Endowment takes a long-term approach to investing. Its primary objective is to achieve an annualized return greater than the rate of inflation plus spending, while preserving capital through a full market cycle.  To that end, it has implemented a disciplined strategy that incorporates both active and passive management, depending on the target market or manager strategy. The University works with an outside consultant to find managers that possess a repeatable strategy, solid investment culture, and emphasis on risk management. This approach, implemented under an active governance structure, enables the University to maintain its long-term, strategic focus and avoid the distractions of short-term market trends. Risk and performance are monitored on an ongoing basis.

It is important to note that the Endowment invests across multiple asset classes. Consequently, over any given time period, its return may diverge significantly from popular indices such as the S&P 500, individual mutual funds, and peers. More information about the Endowment is available via the Quick Links to the right.