In 2011, Eve Higginbotham began her five-year term as an MIT Corporation member. “I didn’t fully appreciate how much MIT affected me until I came back and served on the Corporation. It gave me the opportunity to revisit the MIT culture, connect with folks from my class, and fully grasp the impact that the Institute can have on individuals as they shape their careers,” says Higginbotham, the vice dean for inclusion and diversity and a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is also a senior fellow at Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. “MIT helped mold me as a professional,” she says. “That’s why I’m so passionate about giving back.”
Her husband, Frank Williams, an educator and former academic administrator, also knows firsthand that education can be a powerful force in people’s lives. With this in mind, the two have named MIT as a beneficiary in their wills. They hope their bequest “will help female junior faculty and graduate students at a time when they need that support and resources to get their careers started,” explains Higginbotham.
Higginbotham and Williams view their bequest as a way to leave a legacy. They are particularly inspired by the recently launched MIT Campaign for a Better World. “I am so impressed with President Reif’s vision for MIT,” Higginbotham says. “It is the affirmation that MIT will have a lasting impact for many generations in the future.”