At 92, Dr. Harold Pryor (UTK '51) is still being schooled.
His return to the classroom of life starts at his favorite mom-and-pop restaurant in Columbia, Tenn. He sits with a handful of other gray cohorts and enjoys a cup of joe. After much pontificating and solving the problems of the world, Harold drives back to his quaint apartment for another lesson.
"When you send an email where does it go?" he asks rhetorically, with his iPad perched in front of him on the kitchen table.
"The answer is in understanding quantum physics," Harold says. He offers an overview of The Physics of the Microscopic World, one of his many DVDs from The Great Courses, a catalog of college-level courses from academia's best lecturers.
"Studying microscopic levels of matter and energy reveals how the world works," he says. "It's purely fascinating."
"After all, if you aren't learning, then you simply aren't living," he says. Harold's unending pursuit of knowledge is part of his very being; it always has been.
A year after receiving his bachelor's degree from Austin Peay State College in 1946, he received a master's degree from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. He still wanted more, so he came to Knoxville. At UT, Harold split his doctoral studies between higher education administration and geology and geography. He graduated in 1951.
His awe for learning led him to turn down a lucrative sales job early in his career to become the youngest faculty member to teach geography and geology at East Tennessee State University. He went on to teach at Austin Peay, where he became a professor and director of teacher education.
In 1968, he was part of an education movement as Tennessee's first community college president at Columbia State.
"At Columbia State, about 90 percent of the students were from families who had not had the opportunity to go to college," Harold says.
He could relate "because I had already walked in their shoes," he says. "My parents didn't go to college. My father was a farmer and a small businessman. My early school days included tending to our farm."
The dark cloud of the Great Depression hovered over his high school graduation "and college just wasn't in the picture," he says.
In the early 1940s, he worked as a construction worker at Pickwick Dam Village through the National Youth Administration, a New Deal program. On the days he was in the office, his typing skills were noticed and "I was told that I should go to college," he recalls.
He headed to Clarksville, Tenn., where he divided his days between classes at Austin Peay and working with other students to construct a boys' dorm.
"After the dorm was completed, I worked as a janitor, clerk ... whatever part-time jobs I could get, I worked, so I could stay in school," he says.
His hard work paid off not only in the classroom, but also in matters of the heart. He met the late LaRue Vaughn at Austin Peay. She shared his passion for teaching, and the two were married after Harold's military stint.
During his senior year of college, the "patriotic bug" caught hold of him. "I enlisted in the Army. During World War II, I was attached to General Patton's 3rd Army.
"I learned the meaning of service," he says. He carried those military lessons while campaigning for better education as president of Columbia State.
"You either have a laissez-faire attitude and let things happen or you make things happen," he says.
"In the beginning of my presidency, I had to make things happen because we were facing so many major issues. From getting the school and its programs accredited to building new buildings to hiring faculty to getting the college on a sound financial footing, it was all imperative to moving forward as an institution."
The world became his classroom. "I sought out effective educational systems nationally and internationally," he says of his globetrotting travels that took him from the Far East to South America. "Whenever I traveled, I studied two things: the impact of religion and education on that culture."
On an educational jaunt to study the schools of Moscow, he met Eleanor Roosevelt. "I recognized her and introduced myself. We had a delightful conversation," he says. "She was in Russia writing for Look magazine."
By Harold's 17th year at Columbia State, thousands of students had passed through the hallways of new buildings. "The faculty was the best of the best," he says. "We had long been accredited and we were on firm financial ground. I had done all I could do."
He officially retired at 63, but has never stopped serving the cause of education. "I still do some fundraising for Columbia State," Harold says.
"I have benefited much, so I continue to give back."
Along with Columbia State, he continues to invest in education at his alma maters. At UT, he has established a charitable gift annuity for teacher education.
"I began with no money to go to college, but I was fortunate enough to have many who believed and invested in me," he says. "It's my turn to prepare the next generation for tomorrow's challenges."
Harold uses a stylus pen to load his jazz playlist on his iPad before he checks the Apple stock on CNN. "This gadget embodies more information than I have time to get to," he says with a hearty laugh.
"I'll just keep on scratching the surface and learn what little I can."
To leave a lasting legacy to benefit future UT students, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or email@example.com.
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.