As a child growing up in a small town in Washington state, Anne Matlock Dinneen ’99 had little knowledge of Wall Street and didn’t know what a banker was. When she was accepted to Princeton, Dinneen planned to take the pre-med route to become a doctor like her father — but everything changed during her sophomore year, when she took professor Burton Malkiel’s *64 introduction to economics class.
“That was kind of when the switch was flipped,” Dinneen said. “I think that first exposure to economics, specifically in Malkiel’s class, triggered an interest and a passion — and that’s a bit where my life changed.”
Now, 18 years later, Dinneen is the chief investment officer at Hamilton College, where she is responsible for managing the institution’s nearly $1 billion endowment. One of the youngest endowment CIOs in the country, Dinneen previously worked at the James Irvine Foundation for 11 years, where she had a similar role as an investment manager of the nonprofit organization, overseeing its endowment.
“It’s a similar way of managing institutional money,” she said. “An endowment is so important when you think about everything it funds — faculty, facilities, scholarships, research — it’s so important to the health of a college. We’re really helping to secure the future of this school.”
Despite being appointed to the position two months ago, Dinneen already feels a strong connection to Hamilton.
“One thing that has surprised me is how much Hamilton reminds me of Princeton,” she said. “There’s a very strong focus on academics and a very high level of engagement from alumni … [the alumni] are really passionate about Hamilton.”
Dinneen said her goal is to continue to bring in high returns to Hamilton in a low-risk way. She’s already hit the ground running — building an investment team out of her Manhattan office while making trips up the campus when needed — and said she’s particularly passionate about her new position.
“I really appreciate being able to pair my investment expertise with a great cause,” Dinneen said. “There was a great cause behind everything I did at Irvine, and there’s a great cause here at Hamilton.”
Her advice to younger Princetonians interested in finance?
“I kind of stumbled upon endowment management and it turned out to be my calling,” Dinneen said. “And I think sometimes when you graduate from Princeton, you’re pushed into banking or consulting because those are the institutions that come to campus. Often you’re not aware of the plethora of opportunities out there, and there are a lot of different avenues to travel down.”