CHANGING THE MUTUAL FUND INDUSTRY: THE HEDGEHOG AND THE FOX
On ReceivingThe Woodrow Wilson Award for Exemplifying“Princeton in the Nation's Service”Princeton, New JerseyFebruary 20, 1999
THIS IS A MARVELOUS morning for me. For a mere businessman—apparently the first one—to join the distinguished roll of 42 public servants, artists, scientists, and authors who have previously been judged to represent the high standard of “Princeton in the Nation's Service,” it is a signal honor.
The award citation suggests that my career as an agent of change, if not the agent of change, in the mutual fund industry has been in the service of the nation's 50 million fund shareholders. Whatever the case, I've done my best to meet that standard, not only for the 10 million who own Vanguard mutual funds, but also for those who own other funds. For 25 years—in a sense for 50 years—my mission has been to change the industry so that our nation's citizens—the human beings who invest in mutual funds—get a fair shake. But as awesome as is this honor, I have no intention of resting on the laurels I receive today. I still have promises to keep for fund investors and miles to go before I sleep.
I've entitled my remarks “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” based on this fragment—dated to about 670 B.C.—from the writings of the Greek philosopher, Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing.” This ancient saying has been interpreted to describe the philosophical contrast between the ...