Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University, with combined endowments about equal to the gross domestic product of Lithuania, are among 15 of the wealthiest colleges and universities that borrowed $7.2 billion because their highbrow investing left them suddenly strapped for cash.
Shortly after she took over as chief executive officer of Harvard Management Co. on July 1, 2008, Jane Mendillo gathered the university endowment’s 200- member staff for a town-hall-style meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank Building in downtown Boston, across the Charles River from Harvard University.
Together they have 120 years experience in financial markets. John Bogle, 82, popularized index investing. Paul Volcker, 84, broke the back of 15 percent inflation as Federal Reserve chairman in the 1980s.