Personal Donor Stories
We thank all our planned gift donors for their generous support.
Eddie Brown is a champion of the average student, and it's because he was one.
"USC took a chance on me," says Eddie, a 1969 graduate and former president of the Alumni Association's Board of Governors. "They gave me an opportunity in spite of my high school academic record. That's the reason I want to give back."
His wife, Gayle, earned an associate degree and a bachelor's degree from Carolina in 1965 and 1971, respectively, and shares her husband's soft spot for students in the "middle."
"If you're extremely smart, there are doors that will open for you, and if you're underprivileged, there are programs for that, too," she says. "But there are so many average students with financial needs who get overlooked."That's why the Browns have each made planned gifts that they'll likely designate for scholarships for average students. They hope that support will give students in the middle the means to find the same opportunities they did at Carolina - even if their grades are less than stellar at the beginning. "It means a great deal to us to be able to help students attend Carolina," Gayle says. "When you look at the Honors College, the nursing program, the highly-ranked programs in business, it's just a fantastic place to earn a degree."
It wasn't until Lee Pearson was an adult that he learned the story of his great-grandfather, Frank Nelon, a public health pioneer in the early 1900s who became the first such professional registered in the state of North Carolina. "It's important to me to honor his legacy," says Pearson, director of operations at the S.C. Institute of Medicine and Public Health, who earned a doctor of public health degree from USC in 2004. Pearson has established a life insurance policy gift that will create the Nelon-Pearson Public Health Legacy Award to benefit future doctoral students in health promotion, education and behavior who, like Pearson, have family members who preceded them in the public health profession. "Giving back is a core public health value, and it's core to being a Carolinian," he says. "The Arnold School of Public Health has been a wonderful home for me academically, professionally and personally, so giving in support of future Arnold School students made perfect sense."
Ed Littleton grew up in the Upstate of South Carolina and graduated from USC in the 1985 with an accounting degree. But he jokes that he had to move to Texas to reconnect with his alma matter.
"My wife [Wendy, '86 Nursing] and I had kind of lost touch with Carolina over the years," Littleton says. "But several years ago, Hildy Teegen, dean of the business school back then, was meeting with alumni in the Dallas area. I developed a good relationship with her and got plugged back in with the university," Littleton says.
A senior vice president of risk management at a large construction firm in Dallas, Littleton is now serving on a steer committee for a new risk and uncertainty management program in the Darla Moore School of Business. And the Littletons have further reconnected with Carolina by creating a planned gift through a life insurance policy that will one day provide unrestricted funds to the Moore School.
"Costs are going up for the university, and state support for higher education is not," Littleton says. "We see our gift as an opportunity to support the school and the broader goal of creating a more educated citizenry.
"I am active with the United Way in Dallas, and that's one of the things we're focused on: getting people out of the cycle of poverty by creating pathways for more education. The cycle never changes without that."
"You always want to invest in something successful," says Scott Blackmon, '73 management, "and the more you know about what's going on at the University of South Carolina, the more excited you get about it."
That's why Blackmon and his wife, Karen, who were married on the Horseshoe 16 years ago, recently made a significant legacy gift to the university, which will be split equally between the Darla Moore School of Business and the College of Social Work. Scott, a retired banking executive now engaged in rural property management, says the gift is a way to give something back in appreciation for the education that launched his long and successful career.
Karen, A N.C. native and business development manager for Russel & Jeffcoat Real Estate, didn't attend USC but wanted to acknowledge and support the positive impact the university has on her adopted state. "As the state's flagship university," she says.
The Blackmon's gift is unrestricted, meaning the deans for the Moore School of Business and College of Social Work will be able to apply income generated by the endowment to meet a variety of needs.
"We just wanted to support the university," Karen says "and we liked the idea of keeping our annual support of the business school's Dean's Circle going in perpetuity."
John Troutman, '63, recognized the value of his USC education throughout his career and has been a generous benefactor to Carolina for years. Higher education is important, he notes, in the shaping individual careers and promoting community wellbeing.
A former chairman and president of Regions Bank of South Carolina, Troutman, is well aware of the impact USC has on the lives of people throughout the state. And when he joined the Moore School's Business Partnership Foundation board, he became increasingly aware of the importance of private support.
"Over the past few decades, as the university has grown and expanded its scope, state support has fallen dramatically," says Troutman, pictured with his son John Jr. '93, '95, "When I began my service on the Business Partnership Foundation board, it was at 35 percent. Now it's below 10 percent.
So in addition to donating his time and expertise to the Moore School, Troutman began making significant financial donations, including cash gifts to name a group study room in the Moor School's new building and to support USC Aiken Convention Center, and planned gifts in support of the Darla Moore School of Business Founders Endowment and to establish the John C. Troutman chair in Banking and Finance.
"I had very balanced education at USC and had some wonderful professors, and it was a terrific experience for me." he says. "The Moore School and the university have a profound influence on people's careers. So I would encourage others who have benefited from their USC experience to find ways that they can give back."
Stephen M. Brown
"There was a group of us who were obsessed with doing everything we could on campus. And I think we accomplished that goal."
Stephen M. Brown plugged into nearly every opportunity he could at Carolina and enjoyed four year of exhilarating community. The 1995 Honors College graduate didn't want to leave anything on the table.
"Getting into it and giving back to it was what it was all about when I was there," says Brown, now managing director of the Atlanta office of Cohn & Wolfe, a global public relations and communications firm. "The idea that other students are coming to Carolina with the same bright-eyed optimism is what inspires me to give back."
Brown will be the host for journalism students coming to Atlanta for a Maymester Course, and he's helped many students find internships, professional mentors and jobs. He's also supported Honors College scholarships and has made a planned gift that will provide unrestricted funds to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where he earned a degree in public relations and advertising.
"There are so many things that I love about Carolina," he says. "All of the work i did on campus inside and outside of the classroom prepared me for what I'm doing now. I would hope that more people would think about giving back to Carolina."
Rochelle Gomez Edwards
There are ways to remember a loved one while at the same time establishing an educational legacy. For Rochelle Gomez Edwards, '98, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., the timing was right to direct her life insurance gift benefiting USC toward a specific purpose. It is one that honors the memory of her father, the late Roberto "Ben" Gomez, his family's affinity for military service and their love for Carolina.
The result is The Gomez Family Endowment Fund to Support Veterans and Military Families. She and her family members are contributing to the endowment through the Rochelle Gomez Insurance Fund, which will have little financial impact on them. Their endowment will provide support and expand outreach to veterans who attend USC and their military families. It will be coordinated through USC's Office of Community Service Programs, part of the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support.
Rochelle and her older brother, Rommel Gomez, '95, are Carolina graduates who greatly enjoyed their experiences at USC. Her father, a Navy veteran who died in 2009, did not attend Carolina, but he proudly witnessed the effects of a Carolina education firsthand.
"Our family has a strong belief in service, and my father was forever willing to help anyone he knew," said Edwards. "He loved the University of South Carolina because he saw how happy and successful it made his children and other relatives like my cousins who graduated from USC."
Edwards has been part of that success. After graduating from Carolina with a degree in political science, she earned two master's degrees in education and taught honors and Advanced Placement classes at the high school level for nearly 12 years. More than a year ago, she received a career change opportunity with a company in business development and is now working for Linde Material Handling North America as marketing manager. "I truly miss teaching, but I have been blessed with other opportunities that have given me an even larger arena to interact with people, create new contacts and grow our client base, which I love," she said.
Part of her strong, closely connected Filipino- American family's success has involved the military. Her father, Ben, older brother Rommel, and an uncle, Jesus Guerrero, each served in the Navy. Her father served for 20 years and later worked for the Departments of Defense and State. Her uncle served for 32 years and attained the rank of master chief. Her older brother Rommel, who majored in geography at Carolina, was in the Navy six years and recently completed his M.B.A. He and his wife live in San Diego. Her cousin, Justin Guerrero, '11, who majored in electrical engineering, is currently an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Being a military family meant living in some far-away places, including Japan, where her younger brother, Rowell, was born. Enjoying international journeys to cities like Amsterdam, "Dad never went on a trip without bringing at least one Carolina shirt," she said. —Larry Di Giovanni
Bernard Banks and his wife, Bonnie, appreciate the importance of education and the possibilities it brings — perhaps all the more because Bernard's father did not finish high school and Bonnie's father's college education was cut short by WW II.
Both Bernard and Bonnie got solid support and encouragement from their parents to earn college degrees (he's a 1970 Carolina graduate in business administration), and have enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Bernard retired from a long career in banking and finance, and Bonnie from a career in the telecommunications industry.
And now they're giving back. The Bankses have established a trust that will benefit a charter school for at-risk children in western North Carolina and have created an unrestricted endowment for the Darla Moore School of Business for scholarships and academic program support.
"We hope that our support will provide an opportunity for some students in the future as well as contribute to the continued success of the University of South Carolina," Bernard said.
Edwin "Rudy" Jones
Thousands of Carolina students and alumni understand the theory of relativity thanks to physics professor Edwin "Rudy" Jones.
Although of cially retired, Jones is teaching a course this fall, Physics in the Visual Arts.
"We don't have a lot of fancy equipment. It's all basic optics and things you can see with your eye, but I get a lot of 'oohs and aahs,' which is good," says Jones.
The fact that, after 50 years as a college professor, Jones still gets excited about science is also worthy of a few 'oohs and aahs.' Jones and his wife, Betty, are doing what they can to assure future students have the same twinkle in their eyes while speaking about scienti c principles.
By designating the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation as bene ciary of a portion of their retirement assets, the couple has created the Dr. Edwin R. and Mrs. Elizabeth F. Jones Endowed Scholarship Fund. This fund was created to provide nancial support to juniors and seniors at Carolina who are majoring in physics, chemistry or mathematics.
To qualify, the students must also have graduated from a South Carolina high school or have been homeschooled in South Carolina.
"We wanted to help and encourage local students," says Jones.
Though the Joneses created the endowment with a deferred gift, they have also made a generous outright contribution so that the scholarship could be awarded immediately.
Encouraging students is something Jones has done even before his professorial career.
As a secretarial science student at USC in the late 1950s, Betty Jones wasn't required to take physics. It was only at Rudy's urging that she enrolled in a physical science course.
"It's fun and interesting," says Betty Jones, who proofread Rudy's textbooks. "But if he gets too into it, I just smile and nod."
The couple decided to create the endowment at USC even though Jones earned his degrees from Clemson and the University of Wisconsin.
After a half century on faculty, "I've been here long enough. I'm a Gamecock," says Rudy.
"I didn't have a desire to go anywhere else," says Betty, whose grandfather and mother boThattended USC.
The Jones' granddaughters — Beth, Farris and Ellen Jones — are now the family's fth generation of Carolina students. But don't expect another physicist in the family. Their majors are elementary education, social work and comparative literature, respectively.
— John Brunelli, University Public Relations
"As an academic, you live in a library," says Jessica Kross, and she would know. She was a Carolina history professor for 33 years and now volunteers in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
Her love of libraries goes back to childhood when she breathed her first whiff of the papery ambience of a Carnegie library in upstate New York. Little wonder that she has designated a planned gift to underwrite the University Libraries' efforts to digitize and disseminate its materials.
But Kross' passions extend beyond the walls of the library. For several years, she's traveled with the University Chorus on its biennial performances abroad. International travel nearly always broadens the students' horizons, she says, and that realization led her to designate a fund to offset travel costs for University Chorus students.
"I don't care about leaving something behind with my name on it," she says. "I am committed to higher education in a number of ways and supporting University Libraries and the University Chorus is part of that."
Linda Lisi has lived all over the United States — New York, Illinois, Colorado and California — but she and her golden retriever Gracie have settled down in Sun City, S.C., next door to USC Beaufort's Hilton Head Gateway campus. And, through two endowed scholarship funds, Lisi has established permanent roots there. The Frances and Joseph Lisi Memorial Endowed Scholarship, named in honor of her parents, will benefit USC Beaufort nursing students. The Linda Lisi Pre-Veterinarian Endowed Scholarship Fund will benefit USC Beaufort students who are completing baccalaureate work in preparation for veterinary school.
"I've always been an animal lover — I have no children — and have been a big supporter of the Humane Society and other animal protection efforts. I thought this would be a good way to support future veterinarians from South Carolina who will care for the animals in our lives," Lisi said. "Most of all, I love the fact that these scholarships will continue on in perpetuity."
"Astronomy is a science that makes you want to read more about it. I guess I just couldn't get enough."
Robert Ariail, '55, English, got his first telescope in the second grade and spent the next 50 years exploring the nighttime skies as an amateur astronomer. His massive collection of books and documents about astronomy is now housed in the USC Libraries, but Ariail's generosity didn't stop there. He and his wife, Pat, have made a generous provision in their estate plan that will support the astronomy collection, making it accessible for everyone.
"I really do bleed garnet."
With his jovial personality, it's easy to see why Larry Nichols is so successful in recruiting students to Carolina from the Statesville, N.C., area where he lives.
His fondness for the Moore School of Business makes perfect sense, given that he earned his business degree there in 1965. And like many USC alumni, he's an avid fan of Gamecock sports and is eager to see construction begin on the new Alumni Center.
When it came to choosing which of those aspects of the university to support with a legacy gift, Nichols had no trouble — he picked all of them.
"I really do bleed garnet," said Nichols, an insurance and financial investments manager. "My gift will benefit the Garnet Way campaign, specifically athletics facilities; undergraduate scholarships at the Moore School; the volunteer alumni network that works with admissions; and the new Alumni Center, especially to support maintenance and repair of the building in the future."
What's your passion? Whether you have one — or more than one, like Larry Nichols — share it with others and sustain it for generations to come through your estate.
You might say David Corvette's life has come full circle — twice. The Charleston native attended USC as a print journalism major, then embarked on several career moves with his wife, Gail, that took them around the world. Now they've settled back in Charleston, not far from David's childhood home. And now that he's back in the Palmetto State, the former Carolina Scholar has rekindled his passion for the university. He and his wife have established an endowed scholarship at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications; additionally, a generous provision in their estate plan will further fund the scholarship to support a future Carolina Scholar.
Chip and Cheryl Marvin
Chip and Cheryl Marvin, Classes of 1994 and 2002, and Chad and Chrissa Matthews, Class of 1996, have quadrupled the value of a good example by becoming USC Aiken's youngest graduates to make planned gifts to the institution. What's your passion? Support it for generations to come through deferred giving options that allow you to designate the purpose of your gift.
John and Dodie Knight
Native New Mexican John Knight, '79, paid for his Carolina education by selling American Indian jewelry during a span of four summers in the 1970s. In 1974, he spent the entire year on the road. Knight's familiarity with New Mexican tribes and pueblos in the jewelry business and his respect for their customs and cultures helped launch his jewelry-selling foray across the country, which ultimately led him to Columbia and Carolina.
And while he gained valuable business experience traversing the country, John was unable to study abroad before graduating from USC with a double major in accounting and finance. That's why he recently decided to help future Carolina students by funding study abroad opportunities so students are well prepared for the global marketplace."Our students need to know who our international business competition is," he said. "Study abroad opportunities for a semester give students the chance to learn the customs, rules and etiquette of a country."
John and his wife, Dodie, completed a deferred estate gift to USC in 2010, resulting in the John and Dodie Knight Endowment Fund for Study Abroad. Their endowment will one day significantly increase study abroad opportunities for Carolina students. More than 850 students studied abroad during the 2009–10 academic year.
"In making this gift, the Knights recognize the tremendous benefit students receive when international experiences are part of their education," said Patricia Willer, associate vice president for international programs. "At USC there are many students who could benefit from the added value of international study, but lack the funds to participate. The Knights' gift will help make study abroad more accessible to all our students who are academically eligible for this learning experience." After graduation Knight was a management trainee for Colorado National Bank in Denver before settling into a stockbroker career in the Dallas area. He returned to New Mexico as vice president for RBC Wealth Management before retiring. Dodie is division president of Western Commerce Bank, and they reside in Albuquerque.
A talented jewelry maker, John enjoys creating inlay designs that include turquoise, coral, amethyst, and even dinosaur bone.
Jim Copenhaver directed the USC Marching Band for much of his long career at USC, inspiring thousands of students and entertaining hundreds of thousands of Carolina fans. As if that were not enough of a high note for a career that spanned 34 years, Copenhaver has made a $1 million bequest to endow scholarships for USC band students.
School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding calls the gift "transformative." Copenhaver thinks of it as paying a debt of gratitude.
"I owe thanks to the many talented and dedicated band students through the years who enabled a university band program to be established and maintained at USC," Copenhaver said. "Additional scholarship funding is needed to assure that students will continue to give service to the university through band participation."
Manny and Betty Gaeton
When Manny Gaetán moved to Columbia in 1970, he quickly discovered how valuable USC could be to his professional career. Gaetán was the new editor of Bobbin Publications, a prestigious trade magazine covering the U.S. apparel industry.
"And because my college degree was in engineering, I knew little about being an editor," he said. But Gaetán soon met someone who knew a lot about editing: Al Scroggins, dean of USC's School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the time and head of Sunday School classes at the church Gaetán joined.
"I quickly asked him to become a member of Bobbin's editorial board, and he accepted. This relationship opened many doors for me at the journalism school when I needed answers." Many USC students received valuable internships working at Bobbin, and Gaetán's ties with the University grew even stronger when he helped start the original deans' circles at the business school and the journalism school.
Those connections to the University were important to his career and were the source of many personal friendships. His wife, Betty, earned a bachelor's degree in English from Carolina, as well.
After his retirement in 1998, the Gaetáns, who are members of the Carolina Circle and the Carolina Guardian Society, considered how much the University had enriched their lives and decided to establish planned gifts to benefit the Moore School of Business and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
C.B. and Dona Smith
Ever since graduating from the USC School of Law in 1970, C.B. Smith has been a strong supporter of the school, the university and its athletics programs.
He chaired the USC Educational Foundation from 2004 to 2008 and presently serves as chair emeritus. He also served on the university's most recent presidential search. If that were not enough, Smith, who practices law at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, also chaired the law school's partnership board, served on the School of Medicine's partnership board and currently sits on the Garnet Way Cabinet, an advisory board to the Athletics Department.
"I strongly believe that USC is a very important, even vital, part of South Carolina," he said. "The university is a tremendous economic generator, and the law school educates most of the state's lawyers and judges. USC is critical to every phase of the state's economic success."
Not surprising, then, that Smith and his wife, Dona, have finalized two bequests - one to benefit School of Law scholarships and the other to benefit the Athletics Department.
"I believe in the mission of the university, and I have a lot of confidence in the administration and the Athletics Department and what they're both trying to accomplish," Smith said. "That's why I support the institution like this."
Joan Squires grew up watching Carolina basketball back when legendary Coach Frank McGuire was rallying players such as Mike Dunleavy and Alex English at the Coliseum.
"But when I was a theater student at Carolina, I rarely had time to go to games because I was either in a show or rehearsing so much," said Squires, who graduated in 1980 and has worked in senior management at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta since 1990.
"Carolina basketball was a big part of my life growing up, though, and I've always appreciated the cultural contributions that college athletics make." Squires' affection for her alma mater found new expression last winter when she read a Carolinian article about another USC alumna, Lolly Dana, '42, who made a planned gift to Carolina. That inspired Squires to do the same.
"I don't have heirs so I decided to make Carolina the beneficiary of a portion of my estate," she said. "I've designated my gift to benefit the USC athletics foundation and the Department of Theatre and Dance - two of the things I most value at the university."
Earning a degree from Carolina is not a prerequisite to becoming a diehard Gamecock. Just ask Edwin Pearlstine, who started attending USC football games about 40 years ago with good friends who introduced him to the Garnet & Black fraternity of fans at Williams-Brice Stadium. He's been a member in good standing ever since.
Pearlstine, a Charleston native and businessman, attended the "other" Carolina, but his allegiance is solidly with this one. So much so, in fact, that he's designated a generous charitable gift annuity to ultimately benefit USC's Athletics Department. This gift will not only ensure his support for the Gamecocks for a long time to come, but it will also provide him with guaranteed income payments for life.
Bert Storey, '51
It's been nearly 60 years since Bert Storey earned a degree in civil engineering at Carolina, but he's definitely in tune with America's current need to produce more engineering graduates.
"We need more students trained in engineering to regain our strength in manufacturing and mining and to plan our country's infrastructure responsibly," said Storey, a real estate developer based in Augusta, Ga. "The College of Engineering and Computing wants to increase its enrollment from 1,600 to 2,000 students, and while they're doing everything they can to recruit in-state students, we're going to have to look beyond the state's borders to reach that enrollment goal."
That's why Storey has established a charitable lead trust that funds the Bert Storey Scholars Fund, a scholarship that will be used to attract top-notch non-resident students to the College of Engineering and Computing. Others are challenged to contribute to the fund and help build this vitally needed scholarship pool.
"This scholarship fund will help bring more engineering students in, and because South Carolina has such a great lifestyle quality, there's an excellent chance we'll retain them, and they'll help build the state's economy and improve the quality of life."
This isn't the first time Storey has demonstrated his support for the College of Engineering and Computing. With his latest gift, he has established a lasting legacy that will bring some of America's finest students to the University he cherishes.
A charitable lead trust pays income to Carolina for a specific length of time, then leaves the remainder of the trust to designated beneficiaries. The purpose is to reduce estate taxes while maintaining family control of the estate's assets, all while making a significant investment in charitable endeavors.
What happens when you combine natural curiosity and a passion for history? Just ask William C. "Bill" Schmidt Jr. who has amassed an extraordinarily valuable and interesting collection of antique stock and bond certificates-each one with a fascinating story to match.
His interests aren't confined to antique documents; Schmidt has had an enduring love affair with antique automobiles and steam locomotives. As a youngster, he helped his father restore several antique autos and construct a working model steam locomotive. When he considered what he would ultimately do with his estate, Schmidt didn't have to look too far. A nearly lifelong friend of the University libraries-he's a life member of the Thomas Cooper and Ex Libris Societies-Schmidt has arranged a planned gift that will one day transfer the bulk of his estate, including his entire collection, to the South Caroliniana Library, the Rare Books and Special Collections division, and to the Thomas Cooper Library. Realizing that some items in his collection might not fit in with existing library collections, Schmidt has authorized the sale by the library of such items and the application of sale proceeds to existing library endowments. "I can't say how much I think of the University," he said. "I've been visiting the University libraries for 35 years and have had nothing but positive experiences."
Jimmy, '82, '83 MACC, and Patti, '82, Addison
Ever since graduating in accounting from Carolina, Jimmy and Patti Addison have been solid supporters of the Moore School of Business. They've consistently contributed to the Annual Fund and even started a scholarship fund dedicated to accounting students.
"And we always knew that one day we'd do a separate planned gift to the University," said Jimmy, senior vice president and chief financial officer for SCANA Corp. in Columbia.
That day came sooner rather than later thanks to a matching gift opportunity from Moore School benefactor Darla Moore. In 2009, the Addisons completed a simple yet tax smart gift arrangement that will designate the Moore School as a beneficiary of their 401k retirement plan-and receive a full match to boot.
"We would never have accomplished what we've done professionally without the education we received at the Moore School," Jimmy said. "And we think we can make a positive impact on South Carolina by helping to improve the business school."
The Addisons are contributing to Carolina in other ways, too. Their oldest son graduated from USC Aiken, their second oldest graduated from the Honors College at USC Columbia, and their twins are currently attending Carolina! And because of their wise planning and generosity, future generations of Carolina students will get the educational foundation they need for their own success.
Everett Summerall, '64, '74 MM
Everett Summerall's father was a farmer by trade but could have been a professional opera singer. The elder Summerall won a Metropolitan Opera audition when he was young, but the pull of the family farm kept him out of the limelight. His love for music didn't die, though; he sang at his church and shared his musical passion with his son.
The younger Summerall earned bachelor's and master's degrees in organ performance from Carolina and taught music in public schools for 30 years, retiring in 1996. He also was an organist and choir director at several churches in Aiken and Augusta and continues to play the organ for All Saints Episcopal in Beech Island, S.C.
To honor the memory of his parents, Catherine W. and Everett T. Summerall, Mr. Summerall has created both a charitable gift annuity and a bequest that will fund an organ music scholarship at Carolina and enhance the School of Music's organ curriculum.
Because of his wise planning and generosity, future generations of Carolina students will be making beautiful music for years to come.
H. Thorp Minister III, '81
As all parents know, children have a wonderful way of changing one's values and perspective on life while simultaneously creating a sense of urgency to plan for the future.
H. Thorp Minister always wanted to do something for Carolina. For him, the last piece of his estate planning puzzle was to make a gift to the University through the purchase of several life insurance policies. As a single dad, this allowed him the protection of providing for his young daughter's future if he died prematurely and gave him financial leverage to bequeath to Carolina once he passed on. He noted, "There is a common misconception that you have to be old, rich, and retired to give to a university. Giving to Carolina is a lot easier and more affordable than one might think. If I can do it, anyone can do it."
Thorp set up a living trust that will one day fund three separate gifts that will provide scholarship assistance for a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications; establish a visiting professorship or faculty development fund in the school; and lastly, benefit Carolina's football program.
Thorp explained his motivation for giving to the University of South Carolina this way: "The truth is, most students don't truly appreciate their teachers until about twenty years after the fact. Being able to write well is a terrific exercise in mental gymnastics. My journalism professors taught me well, and it has served me throughout my professional career as a record producer, artist manager, graphics designer, promoter, public relations guru, and television and film producer. For that, I am eternally grateful. I would like to encourage all Carolina alumni, young and old alike, to set up a living trust if they have not already done so. With wise planning, you can invest in the things you value most and make a lasting impact that will benefit future generations of students and professors."
Carol and Michael, '81 MBA, Smith
Carol and Michael Smith invested their professional careers at the University of South Carolina-now they're investing in the institution in a different way to benefit future students and faculty.
Carol, now retired, was public information director at the School of Medicine for many years, and Michael is a long serving professor of European history. Through a bequest and donated funds, they've established the Laura J. Smith Medical Scholarship Fund and the Michael S. Smith and Carol A. Smith European History Library Endowment Fund.
The medical scholarship fund honors the memory of their only child, Laura, who died in 2003 of congestive heart failure. The Smiths' bequest will further endow the fund, which was established to support a need-based scholarship for future students at the School of Medicine. The library endowment will fund acquisitions of books and other materials on modern Europe in both English and foreign languages.
"These funds reflect where we spent our individual careers and honor what is most important to us," Michael said. "We are glad to be able to assist both aspiring physicians and future generations of history students and faculty."
Frances Black Farmer, '32
When Frances Black Farmer graduated from the School of Journalism, the Great Depression was on, J. Rion McKissick was the school dean, and students wrote their assignments on typewriters.
How times have changed. McKissick is now remembered as a beloved president from Carolina's past-a Horseshoe building is named in his honor-and those not very portable typewriters have been replaced by wireless laptops. But Farmer, who passed away in 2007, didn't forget her school experience, and she won't be forgotten. Her bequest of unrestricted funds to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications will help students and faculty for years to come.
"Every gift we receive is a treasure that will help us enhance students' experience in our college," said current dean Charles Bierbauer. "Frances Farmer's bequest can be put to good use immediately where it's needed most.
"A student might get scholarship aid that makes her presence here possible. A faculty member might get to develop and present a paper at a conference that makes his research more relevant to his teaching. The recipients will remember Frances Farmer's tangible love for our college. And so will we."
With wise planning you can provide a gift that will help Carolina students when today's laptops are history but the challenge of learning remains.
Wayne, '75, and Carolyn, '74, '75 MS, Polston
Wayne and Carolyn Polston of Wilmington, N.C., have great memories of their years at Carolina. Tailgating at Williams-Brice and attending basketball games coached by the legendary Frank McGuire are near the top of the list.
Carolyn attended Carolina as a National Merit Scholar and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in math. She lived in the original Columbia Hall, an old hotel that once was located across the street from the State House, for her freshman year. Wayne worked his way through Carolina's engineering college, earning a bachelor's degree.
Now their two sons, Tucker and Ross, are adding to the storehouse of the Polston family's Carolina memories. Tucker received a graduate degree from the English department, having completed his bachelor's degree as a McKissick Scholar. Ross completed his undergraduate education as a mechanical engineering major and an Alumni Scholar.
"All four of us love college sports, and Wayne and I have been members of the Gamecock, then Roundhouse, Clubs since we graduated more than 30 years ago," Carolyn said. "I have always had a goal of paying back the University for my education, a sort of 'paying it forward.'" To accomplish that, Wayne and Carolyn have established scholarships in the College of Engineering and Computing and in the College of Arts and Sciences. They've also created a planned gift that will endow a professorship or faculty chair to benefit both colleges at Carolina.
Carolina has been a source of many happy memories for the Polstons. And their wise planning will provide future Carolina students with the same experience.
Irwin From of Spartanburg, S.C., likes the idea of building on something important to his family. That's why he has continued the legacy of supporting scholarships that honor his grandparents, Israel and Bertha From, and his parents, Ellis and Maie From. Maie From served on the board that helped establish USC Union, one of Carolina's regional campuses. The From scholarships are intended for students who attend USC Union and help defray a large portion of the annual tuition.
In addition to supporting the scholarships, Irwin also plans to establish charitable remainder trusts and other planned gifts that will benefit USC Union and create scholarships for Union County students attending USC Upstate, the University's senior campus in Spartanburg.
With wise planning, you can create a legacy that will last for generations.
Earl and Sherry, '75 MS Ed, Whatley
Earl and Sherry Whatley feel strongly about supporting South Carolina's future educators in the College of Education. Earl was an assistant dean and professor in the college; Sherry earned a master's degree in education at Carolina and later taught in public schools and became a principal.
They've chosen to bequeath two generous scholarship funds that will support education students at the University of South Carolina in perpetuity. By investing in the education of future teachers, the Whatleys know that their gift will pay rich dividends for many years to come.
"We love the University-we met there and were married in the University's Rutledge Chapel-and we both wanted to give something that would be meaningful and keep on giving long after we're no longer here," Sherry said.
With wise planning you can feel good now about providing future benefits that will last forever.
Lolly and Frank Dana's first gift to University Libraries had an immediate impact: a handsome set of John Audubon's Birds of America, with inscriptions and manuscript materials from the family of the Rev. John Bachman, a Charleston, S.C., friend of Audubon.
The book had been in Lolly's family for years, and she wanted to ensure it would be preserved and made available for exhibit with other Bachman materials at the Thomas Cooper Library. A web exhibit of the library's ornithological collections can be viewed at www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/audubon/audubon.html The Danas' second gift is a charitable gift annuity that provides them with generous lifetime payments while benefiting the Lolly M. and Frank J. Dana Library Endowment Fund, which will have long-lasting benefits for the library's special collections area. Proceeds from the fund will support preservation of currently held materials such as the Audubon book and the acquisition of other rare books in the future.