Princeton's cultural life, particularly in music and the humanities, has been immeasurably enhanced by the support of Professor Edward T. Cone '39, who died in October 2004. The music professor's will, which included multiple gifts to Princeton, shows the care and thoughtfulness of a generous benefactor who had a 70-year connection to the University. It also reveals the power and flexibility of creative gift and estate planning to fulfill philanthropic goals.
Professor Cone made a $100,000 gift to the Fred Fox Class of 1939 Fund and a gift of several works of art, including a watercolor by Henri Matisse, to the Princeton University Art Museum.
The residue of Cone's estate was divided between the Edward T. Cone Foundation (one-third) and Princeton (two-thirds), with the Department of Music and the Council of the Humanities each receiving one half of the $3.4 million designated to Princeton. This has created the Cone '39 Music Fund and the Cone '39 Humanities Fund.
Cone specified that one half of his University bequest go toward "encouraging and advancing teaching and scholarship in the humanities." Cone, who taught music at Princeton for 40 years, directed that the other half be used for "encouraging, promoting and aiding the objectives and work" of the music department. "The support of musical research and the creation of musical compositions" topped his list of preferences for how the department would use his gift.
Cone's will created a testamentary charitable remainder trust that pays an annuity to his life partner. Upon his death, Princeton will receive two-thirds of the remainder of the trust; the other one-third will go to the Edward T. Cone Foundation.
Mirroring the residuary bequest, the Department of Music and the Council of the Humanities will eventually benefit equally from Princeton's portion of this trust through the Cone '39 Music and Humanities funds.