Dr. Monto and Mrs. Carol Ho (SIS ’68)
Dr. Monto Ho, professor emeritus and retired chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh, and his wife Carol (SIS '68 MLS) have been a part of the Pitt community for many years. Since serving others has always been an integral part of their lives, they recently chose to make a significant impact on the department that Dr. Ho created and led for twenty years by endowing a chair in the Graduate School of Public Health.
Dr. Ho spent his entire medical career at Pitt. He arrived in 1969 after an esteemed education that included undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate work at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. His early years at Pitt were spent as an assistant professor of medicine in the Graduate School of Public Health, where he was affiliated with the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Ho also had a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine where he was a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases from 1971-1992.
One of Dr. Ho’s fondest memories of his time at Pitt is creating the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. "Before I came to Pitt, there was no such department," Dr. Ho explains. Bringing his research in virology with him to Pitt, he understood the importance of creating a section within the department of epidemiology that would focus on microbiology. When Dr. William Hammon retired, Dr. Ho succeeded him as chair of epidemiology with the goal of developing the department. He recruited Dr. Louis Kuller to become the head of the Department of Epidemiology while he took on the daunting task of creating a brand new department which was launched in 1972. He was appointed chair of that department in 1974.
Believing that the study of infectious diseases in microbiology has a great future because of its importance in public health, Dr. Ho and his wife Carol wanted to ensure his former department’s continued existence. "My wife and I believe this study needs a source of permanent funding and that is why we endowed a chair in the department that I headed," Dr. Ho proudly explains.
The Hos chose to create the chair through a gift of a life insurance policy. "The cost to endow a chair is $2 million and my wife and I are not rich. In order to raise the money needed to endow the chair with the limited funds we had, we took the advice of a very good financial advisor," Dr. Ho says of their planned giving decision. They will pay the premium on a life insurance policy for five years with the policy being actuated upon the death of Dr. Ho and his wife. "This gift of a life insurance policy afforded us the opportunity to ultimately give a gift of $2 million, something we may not have been able to do otherwise," he reveals. The Monto and Carol Ho Chair in Infectious Disease and Microbiology in the Graduate School of Public Health will ensure that the work begun by Dr. Ho will continue for years to come.
Dr. Ho and Carol, a retired medical librarian at St. Clair Hospital, are proud that their legacy will remain at the University of Pittsburgh. "Knowing that we have been able to make a difference in the future study of infectious diseases is such a rewarding feeling," Dr. Ho says, "We are honored to play a role in its continued success."Return to all donor stories.