Letter to the Editor

To the Editor: I would like to correct some misinformation in Alex Thorn’s article, “Are We Happy?”(May 9). Writing about the Phillips Academy endowment, Thorn says, “because of suspect financing and investing . . . our endowment has shriveled.” While management of a large endowment is a complicated business, there is nothing “suspect” about the investment of the Academy’s endowment, which has performed well over the years. I refer anyone who wants to know about the performance of the Academy’s endowment from 1993 to 2002 to Chief Financial Officer Neil Cullen’s report in the spring issue of the Andover Bulletin. It is also worth noting that since May 2000, Andover has maintained triple A bond ratings—the highest available—from both Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poor’s. These are strong measures of confidence in the Academy’s overall institutional excellence. Thorn also perpetuates the myth that PA’s endowment is “far greater than that of any peer school.” While we currently rank second behind Exeter in overall value of endowment, Andover ranks behind a number of our peer schools in endowment per student, which is a more realistic measure of financial resources available. As of June 30, 2002, the market value of PA’s endowment was $470 million, second in overall value within a group including Andover, Choate, Deerfield, Groton, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Northfield Mount Hermon, Phillips Exeter and St. Paul’s. As for endowment per student, Andover ranks fifth. The top ranking school in this group has an endowment value of $639,545 per student; Andover’s endowment per student is $440,000. These figures are according to the Association of Business Officers of Private Schools (ABOPS) for June 30, 2002. It is time for the Andover community to recognize that to finance the many things we strive to achieve at this school, we are not as richly capitalized as we would like to believe. To sustain leadership positions in faculty compensation, financial aid for students and curricular offerings, as well as to maintain a large and historic campus, is not inexpensive. Lastly, the commemorative mugs that were given as gifts to students as part of the school’s anniversary celebration cost $3.07 per unit including shipping, not $8 each, as Thorn states. Peter R. Ramsey Secretary of the Academy