Sidney Carne Wolff ’62 is very happy with the education she received at Carleton. All the same, she says, the school is even better today than it was 50 years ago. “There are many more opportunities for the students to engage in the world, from volunteering in the community to service learning to study abroad,” she says. “Carleton prepares students well.”
Sidney and her husband, Richard Wolff ’62, have spent their professional lives in astronomy programs at large research institutions. Richard helped build and run the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, and Sidney is former director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson and founder of the Astronomy Education Review, the first peer-reviewed journal in that field. She has been a member of Carleton’s Board of Trustees since 1989.
Carleton stands out for its focus on undergraduate education, its commitment to teaching, and the research opportunities available to science students. It is especially successful in producing students who eventually go on to earn PhDs. “All of this is well known in the academic community, at the National Science Foundation, and elsewhere,” says Sidney.
When Sidney and Richard began thinking about their legacy, they looked for institutions that would be long-lived and where their gift would have a lasting impact. “I believe that Carleton’s mission is so clear and so well understood that any gift we give will be used in the right way,” Sidney says. Richard likes that Carleton has been “wise and very prudent in its investments.”
As a result, the Wolffs have made Carleton a beneficiary of their estate. They also have created a unitrust that pays them an income while supporting Carleton. “One of our primary concerns, beyond making a gift, was ensuring that we would have adequate funds to retire comfortably for however long we might live,” Sidney says. “The unitrust is a way to diversify our investments and have someone else manage them for us, yet still provide us with an income.”
Gifts of future support sustain the College in important ways, and the Wolffs recognize that the College is constantly reexamining itself; it isn’t stagnant. “Through strategic planning, Carleton is asking hard questions and trying to find answers,” Richard says. “Reinvention is necessary to remain a strong institution. The students who come to Carleton every year need to be educated in ways that are meaningful and relevant to them, not in those ways that were relevant to us 25 or 50 years ago. Carleton is looking forward, rather than trying to do the same thing all the time.”
The Heywood Society
The Joseph Lee Heywood Society recognizes donors who have made gifts of future support. Named for the College’s early volunteer treasurer and officer of the First National Bank of Northfield, the society includes 1,724 members that span eight decades of Carleton alumni, parents, and friends. Since the society was established in 1995, members have pledged 1,425 gifts with an estimated $155 million future value for the College.