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Paula Volent Named CIO of $2.5 Billion Rockefeller University Endowment

The long-time Bowdoin College chief is replacing Amy Falls, the incoming CIO at Northwestern.

Paula Volent, who in February announced that she would leave Bowdoin College after 20 years as CIO, has been appointed the next chief investment officer for Rockefeller University.

Volent will take over the school’s $2.5 billion endowment on August 15, the biomedical research university announced Thursday. She replaces Amy Falls, who is stepping down from the CIO role after ten years to lead Northwestern University’s $12.2 billion portfolio.

“Paula is unquestionably one of the most accomplished investment officers in the country, and we are thrilled that she has agreed to join us in this vital role,” Rockefeller president Richard Lifton said in a statement.

Bowdoin announced last month that Volent would step down as CIO on June 30 to “pursue the next chapter” in her investment career. Under her two decades of investment leadership, the college’s endowment grew from $465 million to $1.8 billion and achieved “top-decile” returns over the past one-, three-, five-, ten-, and twenty-year periods, according to the Rockefeller statement.

As the incoming CIO of Rockefeller, Volent is set to take over another top-performing endowment. Under Falls, the Rockefeller fund “enjoyed an enviable record of investment success,” according to Bill Ford, chair of the university’s board of trustees.

“I’m sure I speak for my colleagues on the board and in university leadership when I say how thrilled we are to be able to look forward to a continuation of the highest caliber of leadership with Paula Volent at the helm in the university’s investment office,” Ford said in a statement.

[II Deep Dive: After Over 20 Years at Bowdoin, CIO Paula Volent Is Bowing Out]

Volent holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and serves on boards and investment committees for the National Gallery of Art, the Yale School of Management, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Women’s History Museum, Girls Who Invest, and MSCI.

Prior to joining Bowdoin, Volent had served under David Swensen as a research analyst and senior associate at the Yale University investment office.

“I have long admired the dedication and focus of the entire Rockefeller University community on conducting ambitious science that expands our knowledge of the world and has a positive impact on society,” Volent said in a statement. “I’m eager to join that community of scientists, students, postdocs, administrators, staff, and trustees and, in my new role, to contribute to the University’s culture of sustained excellence by working to assure the strength of its financial underpinnings.” 

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