WE ARE ALL CHANGE AGENTS . Some people have the capacity to effect change on a grand scale. If you’re a Warren Buffett or a Bill Gates, you can give away billions, and your philanthropy will have a global impact. Most of us, of course, will have to settle for something more modest.
The billionaire philanthropists of the world may get the headlines—but there are countless others, including many friends of the Department of Economics, whose gifts are no less generous as a percentage of their income or assets. And these gifts make a real and lasting difference in people’s lives. Take, for instance, the late professors Bruce (Left)and Mildred Mudgett. In May, the University of Minnesota Foundation received a gift of $342,000 from the Mudgetts’ estate to fund graduate fellowships in the Department of Economics. This gift will be matched by the Graduate School’s matching incentive program for newly created endowed fellowships, doubling the bounty of their gift to our students.
This wonderful, visionary gift came as quite a surprise. We didn’t even know the Mudgetts. At least I didn’t. Who were they? What prompted their remarkable generosity? What was their connection to the department? And equally important, were there any family members we could thank?
A quick Google search yielded some basic information. Bruce D. Mudgett was born February 10, 1884. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1908. He earned his Ph.D. in 1917 from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1919, he came to the University of Minnesota as a professor in economics, with a specialty in insurance, in the newly established School of Business. His wife, Mildred Mudgett, was also employed by the University in the School of Social Work.
Though not in contact with the department for decades, the Mudgetts must have watched how the department was faring. This gift was no fluke. This couple made a considered decision to leave a particular kind of legacy—one that would provide opportunities for talented rising economists to study at Minnesota.
Bruce and Mildred Mudgett must have known that the Department of Economics provides an exceptional educational experience for students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They must have cared about supporting the work of dedicated professors such as those highlighted in this issue. They must have cared deeply about a department that has sent alumni into the world to make their mark in every imaginable sphere of activity—from education to teaching to the Federal Reserve System to the highest reaches of business and government, where our graduates are managing the finances of countries and corporations all around the globe.
And most of all, they must have cared about students.
The generous support of people like the Mudgetts can help this phenomenal department sustain its international reputation for generations to come. Their gifts can create systemic change in our world, one student at a time.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference for the department and our students, please feel free to e-mail me at donah071@ umn.edu or call me at 612-626-7642. If you want to learn more about planned giving opportunities, we can provide illustrations of how a charitable planned gift vehicle might benefit the department and the University and also provide tax advantages for you and your family.