Notre Dame CIO Mike Donovan Announces His Retirement and a Successor

Donovan was a member of the university’s endowment team for 27 years.


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Mike Donovan, the chief investment officer of the University of Notre Dame’s $18.9 billion endowment, is retiring and his successor has already been named.

Donovan worked 27 years at the endowment and spent four as its CIO. His last day will be June 30 and then Tim Dolezal, a 20-year member of the investment office (and valedictorian of the 2002 Notre Dame graduating class), will take over as CIO.

“We are deeply grateful that Mike has humbly served as a leader on our investment team for the past 27 years, including the last four years as our chief investment officer. Mike is a great investor and talented leader who leaves the investment office’s team, process, culture and portfolio in excellent shape for Tim Dolezal,” Notre Dame executive vice president Shannon Cullinan told Institutional Investor.

Notre Dame’s endowment returned 1.3 percent in 2023 but had strong performance during Donovan’s tenure. The investment office delivered a 10-year annualized return of 10.5 percent and 20-year annualized return of 10.7 percent.

In 2023, about half of the portfolio was allocated to private investment, 26 percent was invested in stocks and 25 percent was multi-strategy investments, according to the latest annual report.

“Mike and Tim have worked closely as partners for the past 20 years, so we are very well positioned to continue our strong trajectory in service to Notre Dame’s mission,” Cullinan said.

There has been notable continuity at Notre Dame’s investment office for decades. Scott Malpass became the CIO (at 26 years old) and led it for 32 years, growing the endowment from $425 million in 1989 to $12.5 billion in 2017 when he retired and Donovan took over (the two were roommates at Notre Dame in the early 1980s).

Before he was CIO, Donovan was the managing director of private equity investments at the investment office. Prior to joining Notre Dame, he practiced corporate law and co-founded a successful educational products company. He is also a director or advisor to numerous charitable organizations and, like Dolezal, a Notre Dame alumnus.