(Bloomberg) -- Princeton University’s renowned investment chief received an unusual send-off buried within the school’s bond documents ahead of his June retirement. 

Andrew Golden, who grew the school’s endowment nearly tenfold over his almost 30-year tenure, is referred to by his nickname in a brief biography included in the documents for this week’s $812 million borrowing. “Before shifting his focus to investing, ‘Sparky’ Golden (aka ‘The Commodore’) was a professional photographer,” according to the deal’s preliminary official statement.

It’s a curious inclusion for offering documents, which are generally staid affairs. The document outlines the deal which will finance projects at its New Jersey campus. The Ivy League school is undergoing a capital improvement plan including a new art museum, fitness center and graduate housing. University officials admitted they added the line as a homage to Golden’s legacy as president of the Princeton University Investment Company.

He grew the school’s endowment from $3.5 billion to $34 billion, generating an average annual return of 10.5% over the past two decades, though recent years have been challenging. The mammoth fund’s investment earnings provide roughly two-thirds of the university’s operating revenue and 70% of the undergraduate financial aid budget.

“Andy has been an important part of the University for nearly three decades, and we thought this was a nice gesture as he heads off to retirement,” said Jennifer Morrill, director of media relations for Princeton, in an email. Golden’s retirement was announced in April 2023. 

Read More: Princeton Asks Investors for $660 Million for Campus Upgrades

A graduate of Duke University and Yale’s school of management, Golden, 64, started running Princeton’s fund after working for the legendary David Swensen in Yale’s investment office and a stint with Duke’s endowment. Both Princeton and Yale use a similar strategy of making long-term bets on illiquid investments and have achieved some of the best results among university endowments.

When asked about the origins of “Sparky” and “The Commodore,” Golden said that they were self-imposed. As a teenager he tried to give himself nicknames, “the more incongruous the better,” he said in an email. 

“Commodore has had particular staying power. I gave it to myself in college after a friend and I crashed a party at a Yacht Club,” he said. “When I came to Princeton, an important administrator was actually a real Commodore in the USN reserves, so I put the name in storage for a spell. The real Commodore became an Admiral, and then retired from Princeton, so I felt it ok to resurrect the name.” 

As for “Sparky,” that moniker had the most traction of all, Golden said. “It originates from an incident in which we had a small fire in our house,” he continued — with a word of warning: “You should always check for lint in the exhaust system of your clothing dryer, not just the screen, but the actual exhaust pipe.”

Nicknames aside, Golden is a force in the world of college investments. Princeton is the richest US university when measured by endowment per student. The endowment lost 1.7% on its investments during the latest fiscal year, its second straight negative return and the worst annual performance in the Ivy League, an unusual spot for the New Jersey school. Princeton has usually been near or at the top of returns among the eight schools.

Read More: Princeton’s $34 Billion Fund Posts Worst Return in Ivies So Far

His “Report on Investments” in the university’s annual Report of the Treasurer, has often struck a philosophical tone. In his last iteration, he included some haiku poetry: “Short terms involve ups and downs / Long term is mantra!” 

Golden said he didn’t have a clear picture of his post-Princo life, although it would likely include board service and potentially teaching and writing.  And then he added: “maybe bartending.”

Golden signed off his email as The Commodore, with well wishes of “smooth seas and fair winds.”

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