Aug. 29-Sept. 12, 2003
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‘A great ride’ comes to a smooth landing
Handy closing chapter as manager of U.Va.’s endowment

By Carol Wood

Alice Handy
Photo by Stephanie Gross
Under Alice Handy’s leadership, U.Va.’s
endowment has grown from $60 million
to its current $1.8 billion.

Alice Handy, the University’s longtime treasurer and a former state treasurer, is leaving the University after 29 years to pursue personal business interests.

Handy, 55, joined the University in 1974 as its first investment officer in the midst of a stock market drop that had taken U.Va.’s endowment from more than $80 million to $60 million.

Under Handy’s leadership, the University’s endowment now sits at $1.8 billion, and consistently ranks among the five largest endowments of public institutions and among the 25 largest of all colleges and universities in the nation.

“Alice Handy came to this University as a young woman with enormous talent, but no one would have guessed then the contributions she would make. She dedicated her career and used her experience and expertise to assure the financial stability of the University of Virginia. Because of Alice, our endowment is now among the best in the country,” said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. “We have been fortunate to have kept Alice here for as long as we have, and we are grateful for her dedicated service to the University.”

Handy also is president of UVIMCO, an investment management company established in 1998 as a subcommittee of the University’s Board of Visitors’ finance committee. As president, Handy’s primary responsibility is management of the University’s endowment.

In addition to the University’s $1.8 billion endowment, Handy also oversees endowment assets from several University-related foundations. These resources bring the total endowment and operating funds for which she is responsible to $2.2 billion.

Handy’s work at the University and as state treasurer brought her to national prominence. In 1995 she was named to the board of directors of First Union National Bank of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and became the first woman to chair the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, a high-profile agency that sets standards and rules for entities that sell bonds to fund public projects. She also is a board member of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello) and the Virginia Retirement System Investment Advisory Committee. She recently retired from longtime service on the board of the Investment Fund for Foundations.

When Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles tapped Handy to be state treasurer in 1988, he noted her “extensive experience in the field of investment and debt management as a determining factor in her appointment.” Several years ago, in a newspaper profile of Handy, Baliles remembered her as among the “best and brightest” of his administration. “She quickly impressed officials at the state and national levels in banking and bond communities,” he said.

In January 1990, Handy returned to the University and assumed her responsibilities as treasurer. One of her first assignments was to oversee the refinancing of the $150 million debt U.Va. issued to build its then-new hospital facilities. In the process she saved the University $20 million.

“Alice has considered going into business for herself from time to time. I think we all hoped that day would never come,” said Leonard W. Sandridge, the University’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, who has been both mentor and friend to Handy. “Alice is recognized as an outstanding professional, but just as importantly, she has been a constant advocate for what is best for the University of Virginia. We will miss her daily influence.”

Handy did not limit the scope of her work to investment activities. Over the years she was actively involved in the founding of the Historic Renovation Corporation and the University of Virginia Real Estate Foundation, as well as the management of the Boar’s Head Inn and the Colonnades.

Sandridge said that Handy also built a very strong team. She will leave the University in strong fiscal condition and well-positioned for the future. He added that she has agreed to remain at the University until a transition can be made to a new chief investment officer.

Handy is confident that part of her legacy will be seen in a “staff that is well-trained, bright and innovative. They are a talented group that knows how to manage money well.

“Over the past three decades, I have been privileged to be part of the team that took a very modest endowment and grew it to be one of the largest and best managed in the nation,” Handy said. “The portfolio is in great shape and has weathered the stormy markets of the past three years in good form.”

Handy has long considered her time at the University as “a great ride,” and anticipates that her next venture will be equally as exciting.

She intends to remain active in the University community in many areas, but especially as a parent. While her oldest son is an alumnus of the University, her two younger daughters are currently enrolled as undergraduates.


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of the University of Virginia

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