Building on her 25-year connection with Caltech, Mary Ann Cloyd, a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, chose to include the Institute in her will. Planned gifts such as hers are helping propel Caltech’s Break Through campaign. She talked with Techniques about what inspires her.

How did you first become involved with Caltech?

About 25 years ago, I participated in a geology excursion around Los Angeles led by a Caltech scientist. I loved it, and one of my partners suggested, “Mary Ann, you ought to check out the Associates.”

There’s something about the Caltech Associates—they’re the most welcoming group. I love being around smart people, and I’ve found my fellow members to be incredibly bright, with interests that I share. The travel opportunities are just unbelievable. I admit, I am a nerd and I like nerd trips!

Caltech satisfies my intense interest in science.

Cloyd with Caltech Associates executive director Catherine Reeves in Chile

Why did you decide to include Caltech in your estate plans?

I have no children, and when it came time to redo my will, I wanted everything to go to charity, with a significant portion to Caltech. I know this is an institution that does good.

It feels good to give. I think most of us want to believe we have made a difference. It’s important for people to understand that every gift matters, whatever the size.

The gift comes out of my lifelong interest in science and technology and a strong desire to support education. 

Caltech made it so easy, and to me that was a big deal. Jim [Ehlers, senior director of gift planning] shared language I could give to my attorney. Everybody at Caltech made me feel so appreciated. 

You directed your gift to endow a scholarship and a fund for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach, both in recognition of Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, staff member Diane Binney, and their daughter. Why give in honor of others?

Mike, Diane, and their daughter are like family, and I wanted them to know how much they mean to me. And Caltech is important to them, too.