"We're not allowed to say the `H' word," confirms
Jay Yoder, an investment analyst at the $380 million Vassar
College endowment. In the ivory tower world of endowment
management, managers are mostly concerned with preserving
capital. To overcome the perception of hedge funds as risky
vehicles that could lead to big losses, officials often refer
to them instead as "partnerships," "alternative investments,"
or "absolute return strategies," says Yoder, who was a senior
analyst at consultant SEI Corporation before moving to
academia in 1994. Yet Vassar allocates 12% of its endowment
to four different "H" vehicles.