Centre's Vice President for Finance, John Cuny, said market fluctuations make it difficult to judge the full extent of the damage.
"Just as everybody else in higher education, we have definitely taken a hit," he said. "Much of the money is in equity investments, so we do not have all of the numbers for that."
Many of the nation's top universities are experiencing similar losses.
Harvard, which has the nation's largest endowment, saw a 22 percent decrease, while Washington University in St. Louis announced a 25 percent hit.
Because the interest yielded by endowments helps to fund campus operations, several areas could be affected.
Cuny said current capital projects will not be touched and there are no plans to eliminate staff. However, he did indicate that a move toward fiscal austerity is likely.
"Building money for current projects is already bonded," he said. "But we will need to examine internal budgets going forward to see if there are things we need to hold off on. We are also trying to avoid doing anything with personnel, but it is possible that we will have to consider whether there are raises."
Expecting future stability
Cuny said Centre is taking necessary measures to ensure that the academic character of the school does not suffer.
"We will be looking across the board at budgets to make sure that we eliminate anything that is not essential, such as travel," he said. "We want this to impact the education experience of the students as little as possible."
Despite dreary financial forecasts, Cuny remains optimistic that the stock market is closer to the end of its tumult.
"The economy has been shaken, and the recession has been acknowledged," he said. "The market has reacted, but I don't think it is spiraling. We are hopeful that by Dec. 31 that number we are looking at is the bottom number."
The diminishing endowment figures come after Centre brought in record amounts of money in fundraising campaigns over the past year.
Roush said the consistent giving should instill confidence that Centre is holding its ground financially.
"Fortunately, just today we received an estate gift of more than $16 million, which will move us back in the direction of where we were before the downturn."
Centre Director of Communications Mike Norris said the school can handle the downswing.
"Prior to the economic troubles in the market, this was the college's strongest financial position in the last three decades," he said. "There was $120 million in fundraising, which exceeded the goal by $50 million. Centre is extremely well positioned to negotiate the turbulence in the economy."