In Response to: Reckoning With Wealth

I found the article on inherited wealth impressive and uplifting.  The decisions by the group alumni to invest their inherited wealth in organizations working in the service of humanity should be commended, not mocked by the likes of Guy Cipriano ’78.

I could match Guy’s tales of work note for note beginning with starting work at age 12; painting houses during NYC summers; washing pots and pans in the kitchen of a day camp for rich kids; working in a machine shop with my father; installing telephones on the Lower East Side where I was chased by dogs and bitten by fleas. If I am incorrect I will admit the error, but I saw no mention in Guy's letter of military service. I would ask, have you ever stood watch in the Engine Room of a WWII era aircraft carrier where the temperature was 130 degrees; and where the only relief you might get was standing in front of a “blower” providing a stream of air which was also 130?

My point is, Guy you missed the point.  When you use your socio-political economic views to make judgements, you forget the analytical skills you learned at Princeton and you are always wrong.  The point is that those alumni have found the answer to a question you apparently missed.  "How much do you need?"  How many luxury cars, how many houses, how many suits, shirts, pairs of shoes; how many vacations?

When I graduated from Princeton I owed the University and Federal Govenment $1,000 each.  When my wife accepted my proposal we had $600 between us and a 1965 Corvair on which I owed about $500.  I was made an officer and a gentleman by an act of Congress and I earned an advanced degree from an Ivy League university with “distinction.” My wife and I worked our entire careers serving others in health care.  We have a seven figure net worth;  modest by your criteria but we know what we need, and after helping our children and grandchildren each year we give the rest away. 

William Parente ’64
Atascadero, Calif.