“I have a strong emotional attachment to MIT. It is a great institution, and it changed my life,” says Thomas DiPrete, who along with his wife, Katherine Ewing, recently established a charitable remainder unitrust to be invested in the MIT endowment. The gift will support graduate-student fellowships.
“There are big advantages to giving a unitrust,” DiPrete says. “It is a wonderful diversification strategy, and you get income for life. We have money to live on, and at the end of our lives, the money becomes a gift for a useful purpose we really believe in.” He and his wife view investing in the MIT endowment as a win-win situation for both the donor and the institution.
DiPrete earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT in the humanities and science in 1972 and got his PhD in sociology at Columbia in 1978. He has taught at the University of Chicago, at Duke, and since 2004 at Columbia, where he is chair of the sociology department. His current areas of research include the reasons girls do so much better than boys in school and the mechanisms that drive executive compensation ever higher in the United States. Ewing, who earned a BA from Tufts and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago, is on the cultural-anthropology faculty at Duke. She has written extensively on Islam, most recently on the challenges that Muslim men face in integrating into Western European society.
DiPrete says that both he and Ewing are sensitive to the importance of graduate fellowships at major research universities. “I spend my life training graduate students,” he says. “It is a need we really believe in.
“MIT is a remarkable place. It has a tremendous community of people, and they are the smartest people in the world. I hope that as a consequence of this gift MIT is able to recruit some wonderful students who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to go to MIT. And I hope they have as wonderful an experience as I did.”
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.