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Jim Berkovec’s son James died in a bicycle accident in 2009 at age 52. Now, he and his wife, Doris, have established the James A. Berkovec Memorial Fund to support a graduate fellowship in the Department of Economics.

“Jim found the people and the atmosphere at MIT stimulating and challenging,” his father says. “He really thrived here and made a lot of friends for life.”

When his son died, Berkovec says, two of his MIT friends and fraternity brothers suggested that a memorial fund be established in his name. At first Berkovec thought it was a “nice” idea, but the more he heard friends’ stories of his son’s success at MIT, the more he thought it was a “great” idea.

James A. Berkovec earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT in 1977 in civil and environmental engineering, specializing in transportation engineering. After a stint as an analyst with Cambridge Systematics, he returned to MIT to earn a PhD in economics in 1984. For four years, he was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Virginia; then he worked at the Federal Housing Administration in Washington, D.C. He later became a staff economist at the Federal Reserve, and in 1994 he joined Freddie Mac, where as a vice president he managed a staff responsible for economic modeling. He lived in Maryland and had three children.

After his death, Berkovec’s parents chose to establish a fellowship at MIT as a way to honor their son’s memory. “This enhancement of MIT’s highly regarded PhD program in economics will increase the attractiveness of the MIT program, making it better able to attract the best students,” Berkovec says. “We hope that this will benefit MIT and society as a whole, making the fellowship an appropriate legacy for James A. Berkovec.”

For giving information, contact Rob Scott: 617-253-3394;

rscott@mit.edu. Or visit giving.mit.edu.

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Credit: Richard Howard

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