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My time at MIT was absolutely the happiest four years of my life. It was the most intellectual place I’d ever been, and I had a ball,” says Dr. Joseph Horton, who recently established two charitable remainder unitrusts to be invested in the MIT endowment. The gifts will support graduate fellowships in organic chemistry.

“I made the gifts to help MIT remain preëminent in chemistry,” he says. “And a unitrust is a very flexible vehicle. I get income for life and also an immediate tax deduction.”

Horton earned an MIT bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1969 and his medical degree from Tulane in 1973. He has been a professor and chief of interventional neuroradiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham since 1999. Before that, he held clinical and academic appointments at the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. He is cofounder of Micrus Endovascular, a company that makes medical devices that are implanted in the head to treat intra­cranial aneurysms. He also has hundreds of publication credits, has served as a visiting professor across the United States, and has given more than 200 presentations and lectures all over the world.

Horton took neither engineering nor business courses at the Institute. And yet cofounding his company required knowledge in both areas. “It’s kind of ironic,” he says. “I trace the skills that allow me to do this to my time at MIT. The Institute made me learn how to figure things out.”

Grateful for his success, Horton made the gifts to repay MIT. “I would like to think that the money going to these fellowships will support people who will devise novel synthetic and analytic approaches,” he says.

Horton would love for the gifts “to support research that would allow an MIT fellow to grab a Nobel Prize.” He says, “I won’t be around to see it–too bad about that–but it would be way cool.”

Donors can now establish a trust invested in the MIT endowment and benefit from its diversified investment portfolio. Such trusts get approximately the same results as the endowment.

For more information, contact Judy Sager at

617-253-6463 or jsager@mit.edu.

Or visit giving.mit.edu/ways/invest-endowment.html.

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Credit: Ed Quinn

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