Married for more than half a century, Mary Jo Dougherty is "still the cutest" to Lew Dougherty. "She was absolutely the cutest little redhead I had ever seen," Lew says with awe, as if it were just yesterday when he was captivated by Mary Jo Baldwin at UT Knoxville.
It was 1948. Both were freshmen. Lew was following his father's footsteps to become a dentist, while Mary Jo was studying home economics. With Knoxville's Tennessee Theatre as the backdrop, their first date was at a UT game-day pep rally on Gay Street. "I was a big-time spender," Lew says with a sarcastic laugh.
Mary Jo was smitten. She graduated in 1952, and two years later became Lew's bride after he graduated with his dentistry degree from the UT Health Science Center.
"I graduated on a Monday evening and that Saturday we were married in the Presbyterian church in Mary Jo's hometown of Sevierville," Lew says. "She put her life in my hands— we've been holding each other ever since. My proudest accomplishment by far is our marriage."
"Mine too," Mary Jo chimes in softly.
"It is the foundation and glue," says Lew, "to everything else we have done."
Their lives are a beautiful metaphor for what love can be. What love can give and create, beyond themselves, for the prosperity of future generations. As the authors of philanthropic investments, which include a multi-million dollar bequest and charitable remainder trust, the Doughertys seek to transform the lives of students in the Honors Program at UT Martin. The creation of the Dougherty University Scholars Program will offer a distinctive educational experience that will include a study abroad component.
"Traveling offers a golden opportunity to understand and appreciate other cultures," Lew says.
With an international roster of favorite places from South America to Northern Italy, the Doughertys know firsthand the difference traveling abroad makes. "It's an experience that leaves a lasting impression," Mary Jo says.
Their uncommon generosity and vision to create educational opportunities in perpetuity for Tennesseans continues at UT Knoxville in athletics, music and the library. "UT Martin, in particular, provides an educational lifeline for West Tennessee, and we are grateful we can be part of such an amazing asset," Lew says.
"Although we never attended UT Martin, it's in our backyard," Lew says. An hour or so from their Camden, Tenn., abode, "UT Martin is sort of a UT home away from home for us," adds Mary Jo. "We are pleased to be able to invest in UT Martin in hopes that it will be an even better place for the best and brightest students."
"UT was the best back then— and still is," says Lew about his decision to study dentistry at UT. "My father, who was a dentist, was my hero. I knew I wanted to be a dentist because of him."
A retired Naval Commander, Lew practiced dentistry for two years in the United States Navy Dental Corps and remained in the Naval Reserve for 18 more years. He spent 40 years in private practice. Mary Jo joined her husband's practice and managed the bookkeeping after a stint running the cotton testing laboratory at Anderson Clayton Cotton Company.
An Unbreakable Connection to UT
"No matter where we were in our lives and careers, we've never been disconnected from UT," Lew says. Their decades-long dedication to UT has led them to be foot soldiers "for a very special place." A leader in UT fundraising efforts and a UT Development Council member, Lew has served as the president of the UT National Alumni Association, the National Annual Giving chair, and chair of the UT Martin Development Council twice. He most recently served as the co-chair of the Campaign for Tennessee for UT Martin.
Mary Jo is counted as a remarkable ambassador for her service as past chair of the UT Alumni Association's Women's Council and past member of the Board of Governors' Executive Committee. A longtime member of the UT Martin Arts Council Board, Mary Jo is a charter member of the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists.
The couple received the UT Knoxville Chancellor's Citation for Extraordinary Service to the University in 1987 and the UT Martin Chancellor's Award for University Service in 2004. It was the first time that either of these awards had been given to a couple.
In recognition of their distinguished leadership, UT Martin named the Tennessee Room, which is housed in the Holland McCombs Center with the Honors Program, in their honor.
"While all of the recognitions are nice and quite humbling, they are fleeting," Lew says. "It's our legacy that will remain."
Leave Your Legacy
Learn more about leaving your legacy with a planned gift to support UT students and programs. Contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or firstname.lastname@example.org for confidential information today.
The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.
A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The University Of Tennessee a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.
an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan
"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to The University Of Tennessee [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."
able to be changed or cancelled
A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.
cannot be changed or cancelled
tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient
the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation
the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase
the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on
The person receiving the gift annuity payments.
the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid
a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will
the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will
A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to UT or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.
An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.
Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.
Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.
Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.
A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.
You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.
You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UT as a lump sum.
You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UT as a lump sum.
A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.
A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and UT where you agree to make a gift to UT and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.