David Leighton earned a degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945. He earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from MIT in 1948, and as a naval officer in 1953, he was among the first to earn an MIT master’s degree in nuclear engineering. For 26 years, reporting to Admiral Hyman Rickover, he designed and constructed nuclear-powered naval warships. His son Tom and Tom’s wife, Bonnie Berger, are math professors at MIT. An avid traveler who recently returned from Southeast Asia, David says: “I’ve learned so much from people around the world.”
“I established a gift annuity at MIT three years ago, and last year after my wife, Helen, died, I established a second one. Both annuities support the Leighton family professorship in the Department of Mathematics. I wanted to increase my giving to MIT and guard against federal regulations that could adversely affect my retirement income. This was a great way to do it. My annuity payments are greater than I could get investing on my own. And I get an immediate federal income tax deduction, a good way to diversify my portfolio, and a higher fixed income for life, which is largely tax free. The Institute also benefits because it has the money now, rather than getting it in my will. It’s a win-win situation. MIT is vital to the future of this country. It has a reputation for innovation and for increasing scientific and engineering knowledge in the world. The United States needs MIT.”
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