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It’s hard to imagine how someone could be more committed to the Museum of Science than D. Reid Weedon, Jr. From the time he joined the board of trustees in 1964 until he passed away last year at 96, Weedon had a hand in every institutional initiative and capital project at the Museum and made numerous gifts, including a “gift that gives back” in the form of a charitable remainder trust.
Weedon helped build the Charles Hayden Planetarium and Blue Wing and, more recently, assisted with the Museum’s first comprehensive capital campaign that brought guests the Hall of Human Life and the Charles River Gallery, among other changes. He served as president of the board from 1967 to 1972 and became a life trustee in 1972. In 2012, Weedon received the Colby Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Museum, for his decades of philanthropic service.
He was particularly passionate about fundraising. He believed the Museum could not do its work of increasing the public’s understanding of science without the monetary support of that public. In addition to making donations throughout his lifetime, Weedon also served as chair of the planned giving committee into his 90s. Nearly two decades ago, in 1998, Weedon set up his ultimate gift to the Museum through the D. Reid Weedon, Jr. Charitable Remainder Trust. The trust remainder is to be used to support the salary and related expenses of the president and director of the Museum of Science.
“Reid’s belief in the Museum’s mission was contagious. … He was a great mentor and an absolute delight to work with,” said Nancy Dempze, a Museum trustee who worked closely with Weedon on the planned giving committee. And when it came to his work fundraising for the Museum, he had a foolproof weapon: “Reid didn’t know the word ‘no,’ ” Dempze said. “It just wasn’t in his vocabulary.”
Born in Newton, MA, in 1919, Weedon received his SB from MIT in 1941 and went on to serve in the Navy during WWII. He spent his professional career working at the consulting firm Arthur D. Little. As part of his job, he worked on the implementation of the Sullivan Principles, a corporate code of conduct created to end workplace discrimination, eventually helping lead to the end of apartheid in South Africa.
Throughout his life, Weedon brought the same enthusiasm for fundraising to his alma mater, MIT, as he did to the Museum. To him, the institutions were the perfect yin and yang for spreading science education: “MIT provides the place where people can come and get the technological higher education, which in turn produces the new technology which the Museum then has to work with to promote to the public,” he once said.
Weedon is remembered by his friends and colleagues at the Museum as much for his personality as for his dedication to his work.
“Reid was a consummate gentleman with a great sense of humor,” Dempze remembers. “Not only did he know everyone at the Museum, he knew everything about the history of the Museum. But he never looked backward, always forward.”
Thanks to the D. Reid Weedon, Jr. Charitable Remainder Trust, he will continue to help propel the work of the Museum forward in perpetuity.
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