Julian Robertson, Jr., the namesake of the McIntire School of Commerce’s Rouss-Robertson Hall, passed away Tuesday. Robertson was deeply connected to the McIntire School of Commerce, frequently hiring and mentoring Commerce School graduates through his hedge fund Tiger Management.
Aged 90, Robertson reportedly died of cardiac complications in his home in New York, according to his son Alex.
Robertson founded Tiger Management — one of the first hedge funds — in 1980. His innovative investment techniques revolutionized the financial industry. Over sixteen years, his fund’s capital increased from an initial $8 million to $7.2 billion. He ran the company for 20 years before closing the fund in March 2000. At the time of his death, Forbes estimated his net worth to be about 4.8 billion.
After finding financial success, Robertson turned his attention to mentoring and philanthropy. He guided a number of young investors over the years — many of whom were McIntire alumni — and all of whom became known affectionately as his Tiger Cubs.
Nicole Jenkins, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, said Robertson would often visit Grounds and interact with University students face-to-face. Jenkins has observed a lineage of successful McIntire alumni that began with Robertson’s mentoring.
“One thing that’s true about that generational impact that Julian Robertson had on McIntire alums is that these are individuals who have gone out and done amazing things and created a lot of economic value,” Jenkins said.
Two notable McIntire alumni who worked for Robertson at Tiger Management are John Griffin, Class of 1985 alumnus, visiting scholar and founder of the Center for Investors and Financial Markets, and Chris Shumway, Class of 1988 alumnus and visiting scholar — both of whom graduated from the School of Commerce and went on to be successful in their own right.
Griffin was the lead donor to McIntire’s current building, Robertson Hall. The building was named after Robertson, at Griffin’s request, in 2007. It is meant to honor Robertson’s generosity toward the Commerce School, as well as recognize the legacy he leaves behind.
Jenkins remembers Robertson’s legacy as creating exceptional opportunities and learning experiences for McIntire students. She described Robertson’s overall impact on the School of Commerce community as profound.
“There’s no denying that [Robertson’s] friendship and mentorship and his ability to open doors for members of the McIntire community has had a long lasting impact on our school,” Jenkins said.
Robertson was a signatory of the Giving Pledge, which means he formally pledged to donate the majority of his wealth to philanthropic projects.
“Even though students won’t have an opportunity to meet him and hear from him, they will understand what’s important to him through the charitable acts he has funded,” Jenkins said.