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Lisa Howie Is Named Chief Investment Officer

News of Note

Published April 12, 2021

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney today announced the appointment of Lisa Howie as the college’s first chief investment officer, a key step in bringing management of the college’s endowment in-house. Howie currently serves as a director in the Yale University Investments Office, where she has spent the past 12 years. 

Of her new role, Howie said, “I am thrilled to be appointed as Smith’s first chief investment officer. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a team and a portfolio in service of Smith’s mission of educating and empowering women. I look forward to partnering with President McCartney, the Investment Committee and Smith’s senior leadership team to support the college’s priorities. During my time at Yale I have learned a great deal about principled investing, innovative sourcing and collaborative team building. I look forward to applying this knowledge and experience at Smith.” At Yale, Howie was responsible for management of the university’s foreign public and private equity portfolios. She also contributed significantly to the Investments Office’s recruiting and staffing efforts, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Howie earned both her undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and her master’s in business administration from Yale. She serves on the investment committees of the New York Public Library, The Ohio State University, and Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, as well as on the board of directors of MakeHaven, Inc.

At Smith, Howie will report jointly to McCartney and to the Investment Committee of the board of trustees. She will be responsible for building a high-performing investment team and best-in-class investment office. “I am extraordinarily pleased that Lisa will be serving in this pivotal role at Smith, given her many talents,” McCartney said. “Her performance has been exceptional at Yale, where she has developed a great network, both globally and in the U.S. Importantly, she knows how to recruit and develop talented teammates, which will be one of her first tasks as she builds Smith’s investment office team.” 

Deborah Farrington, a 1972 graduate of Smith and chair of Smith’s Investment Committee, expressed gratitude to Investure, the firm that currently manages the Smith endowment, for the transformational role they have played in managing Smith’s endowment over the past 17 years. “We have valued Investure’s partnership and look forward to working with them on the transition as we bring the management of the college’s endowment in-house under Lisa Howie’s leadership in this exciting new chapter for Smith.”

Smith’s endowment, now valued at more than $2 billion, funds more than one-third of the college’s operating budget and enables the college to invest in such key areas as student financial aid, faculty recruitment and retention, and strong academic programming.

Howie’s mentor at Yale, Chief Investment Officer David Swensen, offered this high praise: “Congratulations to Smith College for selecting Lisa Howie to establish the college’s first dedicated investments office. From working closely with Lisa for more than a decade, I know she will bring intelligence, dedication, compassion, hard work and investment prowess to her efforts every day. She and her team will provide financial resources for Smith College to flourish in years to come.” 

In announcing the appointment, McCartney thanked the search committee: trustees Deborah DeCotis ’74, Andrea Auerbach ’91 and Anne Martin ’83, and Vice President for Finance and Administration David DeSwert.

Howie starts at Smith on June 28. She will maintain offices in Northampton and Boston.

About Smith: Founded in 1871, Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction and purpose. One of the largest women’s liberal arts colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,600 students from nearly every state and more than 50 other countries to cultivate leaders able to address the complex, urgent problems of today. As a community of scholars, entrepreneurs, scientists, activists and humanitarians, Smith is changing the world. More information at