Known around campus simply as "the lady in the Karmann Ghia," the late Elaine Altman Evans was just as eccentric and rare as the 1971 Volkswagen black sports coupe she drove.
Described as "an original," Elaine didn't just work for the last 41 years as a curator at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture; it was her life's calling. Bouts of sickness overshadowed the end of her tenure, but she still found the most desired healing back in her office at the museum.
"She was always the last to leave the office," says Jeff Chapman, director of McClung.
Her home away from home, Elaine saw to it that a great part of her estate was earmarked for McClung and the UT library, and also for scholarships. To his surprise, Jeff also received a generous gift from Elaine as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. He selflessly invested the funds into a UT endowment named in memory of Elaine.
"This was the best way to honor her and her service to the museum," Jeff says. "I couldn't imagine doing anything else but giving the money back to the programs to which she had dedicated her life."
Her Contributions Live On
Surrounded by Post-it notes—her official organizational system—inscribed with names, references and observations, Elaine's meticulous research gave birth to a McClung exhibit focused on the burial practices of ancient Egypt followed by a permanent prominent gallery, now named in her honor, devoted to ancient Egypt. She also curated 20 temporary exhibits and more than 100 smaller case exhibits along with designing and describing more than 150 objects from around the world in the museum's decorative arts showcase.
"Elaine was a storehouse of vast knowledge," Jeff says. "She was never happy with an identification of a piece in an eclectic collection until she exhausted the available literature and sought the input of published experts. It wasn't just what she did; it was part of who she was."
A sought-after expert, Elaine examined and pontificated about hopeful treasures brought to her by community collectors. And when some couldn't find his or her way to her, she journeyed to their homes to unearth their findings and offer guidance.
An author and artist, Elaine's passion for the ancient culture of Egypt was piqued prior to her arrival at UT from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Egyptian Art. She had already discovered a great appreciation for art after a three-year stint in South Africa, where she earned her master's degree and taught in mission schools and at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. She received her bachelor's degree in art history from Columbia University.
When she wasn't at the museum, Elaine was likely on a jaunt to Egypt or Italy honing her expertise on ancient Egyptian art and culture. If not in a faraway land, she scouted nearby areas for other displays focused on Egypt, often rounding up a busload of friends and strangers alike.
While her ashes are sprinkled in the Nile, her legacy is sown at McClung, a destination of discovery for tens of thousands of children, college students and visitors.
Consider Your Legacy
To leave a lasting legacy to benefit the future of the university, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a> or click here for gift ideas.
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.