Jon ’66 and Peggy ’66 Watterson

1 August 2023
Jon and Peggy Watterson pose for photo with bikes

Staying active when they retired (or at least semi-retired) has been important to Jon and Peggy Watterson — whether it be biking cross country, helping Turkish and Vietnamese seed scientists with research, caring for their enormous garden, or planning for their financial future.

The two former biology majors had given to Carleton through the annual fund for many years, and in 2012 they decided to do something more significant. They considered a few options but ultimately decided a charitable remainder unitrust was the right fit for them.

“We saw it not only as a way to give back to the college but also get an income stream as well as a partial tax deduction,” Jon says.

“We had lots of options where we could give gifts,” Peggy says. “Both of us have benefit- ted from Carleton a great deal, and the con- nections that we still keep with Carleton are pretty important.”

In fact, some of those connections are practically next door. After graduate school, the Wattersons followed a pair of fellow Carls to Davis, Calif., and they’ve been there ever since. Both have enjoyed long careers, and they say the liberal arts education they received at Carleton allowed them to branch out further than their biology majors. Jon, for example, began his career in plant pathology, then moved into plant breeding and molecular biology before managing research and development in Europe, South America, and Asia. Peggy taught general science courses to middle school students and directed a University of California-Davis project called Reading and Writing in the Content Areas that engaged teachers statewide in multiple disciplines.

“If I had gone anywhere but Carleton, I probably never would have gotten involved,” Peggy says.

The one thing their Carleton education did leave them with time for, they say, was traveling off campus. So they’ve dedicated the money from their unitrust to biology majors studying abroad.

With their unitrust, the Wattersons were able to give a significant gift to Carleton and receive a percentage of its assets each year. What also appealed to the Wattersons was that they could easily add to the unitrust at any time — so a few years back, they added more funds, received another tax deduction, and increased the income they received. “We see good things happening at Carleton, and that’s where we wanted to put our resources,” Peggy says.