Michele Kearney

Washington, DC

Michele Kearney met her late husband, Joe, in 1975, when both worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget, specializing in energy and the environment. A charitable remainder unitrust that she recently established will now be invested in the MIT endowment to support a graduate fellowship in nuclear engineering in his name.

“The Institute played a major role in nurturing Joe’s creativity and entrepreneurial talents,” she says. “The gift allows me to honor my husband and to do something worthwhile for MIT. I’m pleased to give back on his behalf.”

The gift, she adds, has many benefits. A unitrust provides a steady income stream, generates tax efficiencies, and is an excellent method of asset diversification. And because it is invested in the endowment, it provides a good balance of growth and stability. “The future strength of the economy will come from innovation and new areas of technology,” she says. “In the long term, I believe that the MIT endowment is a better place for making these kinds of investment decisions than the investment banks on Wall Street.”

Joe Kearney’s career in the energy business spanned 25 years. He earned a master’s degree from MIT in 1969 and a PhD in 1973, both in nuclear engineering. At the time of his death in 1998, he was president and CEO of U.S. Generating, one of North America’s largest independent power producers, and senior executive vice president of Pacific Gas & Electric.

“The need for competent, entrepreneurial nuclear engineers to satisfy the demands of future generations is huge,” Michele says. “One of the best places to be trained in this field is MIT, which brings together myriad disciplines to problem-solve. Throughout his career, Joe emphasized the importance of team building–grounding he got at MIT.

“I would rather give the money to the Institute, where I know it will be put to good use, than give it to the government. This is a remarkable institution with global reach. I don’t think another place can match it.

Donors can now establish trusts invested in the MIT endowment and benefit from its diversified investment portfolio. The income paid by such trusts has the potential to increase over time as the endowment does.

For giving information, contact Judy Sager: 617-253-6463; Or visit

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