When Bill Berry ’81 arrived at Harvard as an undergraduate, he was very excited to find classmates who challenged ideas. “If you had an idea, you had to defend it—and then you were going to hear another idea, and if you had questions about it, they had to be good questions,” he says.
“I think one of the most important things Harvard does is build a community of people who really want to learn and then use that learning to do things better.”
In gratitude, Berry has been a consistent annual donor and has also made a bequest to Harvard, to leave a legacy of support that he knows will be meaningful.
“You hear so much about major gifts to Harvard, but I have learned that even very moderate gifts can make a big difference,” says Berry, who was a financial aid recipient.
“I’m grateful to Harvard for the experiences that continue to shape my life and make it better.”
These include meeting his husband and building strong friendships that have flourished since his days in the Yard.
“Obviously, if Harvard helps you meet your life partner, that alone is a lot to be grateful for. But it has been so much more. Many of my close friends are still people I met at Harvard. It exposed me to areas of learning and experiences that I draw on every day—whether I am reading or voting or handling challenges at work,” says Berry, who runs a health care communications firm working with companies in the life sciences and medical technology.
He’s especially excited about the growing role the College plays in biomedical research, particularly within a liberal arts context. “I think the liberal arts inspire so many great ideas and innovations,” says Berry, who was an English concentrator. “By supporting this learning, the potential for humanity is huge.”
He believes making a bequest is one way to help Harvard continue to move in new directions and face challenges. “What I especially appreciate is that it is always looking at ways to improve and that it does so thoughtfully,” says Berry. “I want to be part of a community that says, ‘I think Harvard is doing good things.’”