Arysol Soltero Niffenegger ’84 has always been excited about Harvard, ever since she ran down the stairs at her high school in Puerto Rico to talk to an admissions representative from the College. When she was accepted and arrived in Cambridge, she couldn’t believe her good fortune. “I was so excited to be surrounded by amazing people, experts in every field, and to be close with professors who were Nobel laureates,” she says. And her excitement has only grown. 

“I’m really grateful to be part of a place that values knowledge as much as Harvard does and that so actively develops leadership. Harvard makes a big difference and impact in the world,” says Niffenegger.

For this reason, she established a deferred charitable gift annuity at Harvard in honor of her 30th reunion last year. A generous way to give back to Harvard, this planned gift option enables Arysol to make a secure, tax-advantaged donation while she and her husband, John ’83, are still working, and receive additional income when they retire.  

“I want to help Harvard, and the annuity allows me to do that. What better way to invest in a place I trust? I know Harvard will do the best it can with the money,” she says. “John and I see it as a partnership.”

For Niffenegger, Harvard was where she set out on the path to becoming a physician. 

“I really wanted to make a difference,” says Niffenegger, who concentrated in biology. “Harvard really cares about helping others and makes a point of instilling that passion in students. My professors were incredible people who really cared and worked so hard at being the best.”

Niffenegger is a pediatric ophthalmologist and serves as director of the Harvard Club of Sarasota. The mother of two children, Christina and James, she looks forward to visiting Harvard next fall where James will be a freshman.

It’s just another thing to be excited about in being a part of Harvard. “The world has so many challenges and so many passionate kids. With adequate resources, I think Harvard can solve the world’s problems,” she says. 

Learn more about making a planned gift to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences by visiting the Office of Gift Planning page or by emailing

Posted In