Annual “Wilson and Princeton” DinnerWoodrow Wilson House, Washington, D.C.September 30, 1999

GOOD EVENING, LADIES and gentlemen. Thank you, Ambassador Lukens and distinguished members of the dinner committee for honoring me with the invitation to address you. In the spirit of this grand occasion, I'd like to begin with some comments about what I find especially remarkable about President Wilson; in particular, how his lengthened shadow lies over America today, and how his economic policies were shaped by his idealism. I'll then turn to Vanguard, the now-giant mutual fund enterprise that I founded just 25 years ago. Only time will tell whether the lengthened shadow of my economic vision of fund management and my own idealism will lie over my firm a century hence. But I hope so.

As I understand it, it is Vanguard's distinctive approach to the stewardship of investors’ assets that led to Princeton University's decision earlier this year to honor me with the Woodrow Wilson Medal—presented annually to an undergraduate alumnus for “distinguished achievement in the Nation's service.” My humble delight in receiving this award almost (but not quite!) equals my utter astonishment at having been chosen, the first businessman in a long and distinguished line of public servants, artists, scientists, and authors who preceded me.

Wilson and Economics

In the course of preparing my Wilson Lecture, given in conjunction with the presentation of the ...

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