William H. McLean, Northwestern’s vice president and chief investment officer, will be leaving the University to take on a similar position at the University of Richmond.
When McLean started in his role at Northwestern in January 2002, the University’s endowment was about $3.3 billion. Under his leadership, the endowment has grown to approximately $10.9 billion as of Aug. 1, 2020. Over the 18 years McLean was at the helm, support from the endowment to the University’s operating budget totaled almost $5.3 billion.
“Will’s leadership of our endowment has been critical to our success and has touched the lives of students and faculty over nearly two decades,” said Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Craig Johnson. “It is through his careful stewardship that we were able to adopt a no-loan undergraduate financial aid policy to meet all demonstrated need, to hire and support world-class faculty, and to fund groundbreaking research.”
Northwestern’s endowment supports a wide range of University operations including undergraduate and graduate financial aid, university institutes and centers, faculty positions and department chairs, research and athletics.
McLean’s last day at Northwestern will be Oct. 16. He will start at University of Richmond January 1, 2021, where he will be president and chief investment officer for Spider Management (a reference to the university’s sports teams’ name, the Spiders). He is currently a trustee of the University of Richmond and has served on Spider Management’s Board of Management in various capacities since 2012, including chair of the Spider Management Board for the last two years.
“As a long-standing member of our board of trustees, and the parent of two Richmond graduates, Will believes strongly in the wise stewardship of the resources that have been entrusted to us,” said University of Richmond President Ronald. A. Crutcher. “He is also committed to Spider’s long-term investment strategy, our talented team, and our institutional mission.”
McLean said the move is bittersweet.
“My sadness over leaving Northwestern is tempered by my excitement over a new opportunity in a location near my family,” said McLean, who has children and grandchildren in the Richmond area.
“Leading the Northwestern University Investment Office for the past 18 years has been a great honor and privilege for me,” he said. “With fantastic support from the Investment Committee and the University administration, we have been able to build a strong team and an investment program that will benefit Northwestern for years to come.”
McLean said he is particularly grateful for the leadership provided by trustees who have served on the Investment Subcommittee and the Investment Committee during his tenure at Northwestern.
“Northwestern has been immensely strengthened by Will’s stewardship of the endowment,” said trustee T. Bondurant French, who has worked closely with McLean as chair of the Investment Committee since 2014. “He has ably steered our investments through the ups and downs over the past eighteen years, and I am grateful for his partnership and service.”
Prior to joining Northwestern, McLean was senior managing director for asset and investment management at the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He also served as an investment officer at the Duke Endowment in Charlotte, N.C.
A Chartered Financial Analyst, McLean received his B.A. degree in economics from Davidson College, and his MBA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He serves as a board member of The Sherman Fairchild Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. He also has served on investment advisory committees of Father Flanagan’s Trust Fund, the NCAA, Davidson College, Mather Lifeways and the Mayo Clinic.
An interim vice president and chief investment officer will be announced later in the fall, as will information about a search committee to identify McLean’s successor.