Four questions for Kathryn J. Crecelius

Vice president for investments and chief investment officer on the endowment investment pool, unknown unknowns

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

1. What's at the top of your to-do list?

Markets are constantly changing, and thinking about how those changes can help or hurt our investment program is one of our top concerns. Ensuring that we have a portfolio and an investment team that are positioned to capture value whenever and wherever opportunities occur, while at the same time preserving capital and enabling intergenerational equity for the university, is my key focus.

2. What keeps you up at night?

People often think that because of market volatility and economic uncertainty, we are sleepless with worry, but we tend to see market events as allowing us to rebalance and to invest at favorable prices. It's a "glass half full" perspective. With a portfolio that is well-diversified by manager and strategy, and with the advantage of being able to take a long-term perspective, we are less concerned about short-term noise. We have done a good job of avoiding the known land mines; I worry about the "unknown unknowns"—risks of which we are unaware.

3. What's in store 10 years from now?

It's an increasingly global and interconnected world. In 2023, there will be new strategies and securities to invest in, but the Office of Investment Management will still be focused on growing the endowment for future Hopkins students and programs. And hopefully, thanks to our upcoming campaign, there will be more endowment for us to manage!

4. Tell me something I don't know about Johns Hopkins.

The endowment investment pool is composed of more than 3,400 separate endowments that are unitized into one fund, just like a mutual fund. The recent gift from Michael Bloomberg to fund professorships is one of our latest endowments, but our original endowment funds come from Mr. Johns Hopkins himself.

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