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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Summer 2009 Table of Contents

Former Trustee Peter Vermilye Dies
at 89

Helped build endowment to over $1 billion

| From Commonwealth

Peter Vermilye (Hon.’07)

Peter Vermilye (Hon.’07) died March 9 of complications from pneumonia and a stroke. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, two sons, two sisters, and seven grandchildren.

For more than three decades the New York-born, Princeton-educated, Yankee-turned-Red Sox fan helped steer BU’s investment portfolio, first as trustee, beginning in 1969, and then as chairman of the Board of Trustees investment committee, growing the University’s endowment from about $28 million to over $1 billion.

In more than sixty years as an investment manager, Vermilye leveraged his considerable stock-picking skills and international market contacts to BU’s benefit — always, colleagues say, with keen ethical concern. “Pursue excellence, using your faculties to their fullest” was his motto.

“What is amaz­ing about Peter is he actually almost single-handedly ran the endow­ment from 1971 to about 2006,” says Robert Knox (CAS’74, GSM’75), chairman of the BU Board of Trustees. “What’s unusual about that is that most large universities have endowments run by professional investment staffs. He ran it with a committee, but was the main decision maker. And he had a unique relationship with some of the best money managers around the world.”

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