Skip to Content

Long Sight

Grateful patients Mickey Coleman, Mack and Jonnie Day and Dorothy Gerwin lived simply so they could give big. They saw the need to forge uncharted health frontiers at the UT Health Science Center, so they gave munificently throughout their lives. Now in death, their generosity—their legacy—continues through their estate plans. Sight-saving and life-saving research will go on and save others from the kind of health conditions that plagued their final days.

Gerwin A Mother of All
Dorothy K. Gerwin, 1912-2013

She lost both her children, but she adopted dozens as her own.

Dorothy made it her business to meet every student in the UT Health Science Center's Departments of Physiology and Ophthalmology who received a Gerwin Fellowship, created in 2004 by her and her late husband of 63 years, Daniel.

Her husband might have been the attorney, but she was the great thinker, and the two shared a passion for philanthropy focused on education, health care and scientific research. In honor of their son, they endowed the Thomas A. Gerwin Chair at the Health Science Center, making it possible to recruit extraordinary scientific researchers. A long list of charitable organizations close to their hearts spanned from the U.S. to Israel and from academic institutions to hospitals.

Her support meant more than simply writing a check. She often hosted those impacted by her giving efforts in her home. They fed her unwavering interest in current events and charity, while they, in turn "enjoyed the privilege of spending time with an exceptionally kind, charming and elegant woman," says Haik.

At 100, she outlived her immediate family, but she never was alone. And her spirit still lives on.

Coleman A Fisher of Giving
David D. 'Mickey' Coleman, 1927-2014

When Mickey was 13, his father died, forcing him to leave boyhood behind and run the family farm.

His parents impressed upon him the value of higher education as a great equalizer and a solution to global ailments. So, following a tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force, Mickey went on to attend UT Knoxville, where he lettered in swimming and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Eventually he sold the farm in exchange for entrepreneurial endeavors and travel adventures.

When Mickey met the Hamilton Eye Institute's namesake, Ralph S. Hamilton, and its director, Barrett G. Haik, the lessons his parents ingrained in him about the importance of education found their calling. He became a great supporter of the institute. And he gained a dear friend and fishing buddy in Haik.

Once, following Mickey's stabilization from a brain hemorrhage, Haik "moved mountains" to get him back to Memphis from Michigan, where he often retreated during the summer. Haik called in a favor from a colleague to have Mickey flown back to Memphis. He also arranged for a team of medical professionals, who volunteered their services, to safely transport Mickey home.

It is what Mickey would have done for Haik or anyone else, as evidenced by his insistence that Hurricane Katrina victims call his home theirs until they could get back to the homes they once knew.

"His hospitality was like no other," Haik says. "He never took anything for granted. He appreciated every blessing."

Days Hole-in-One Care
Walter 'Mack' and Gertrude 'Jonnie' Day, 1923-2011 and 1924-2014

Although they lived hundreds of miles away in Palm City, Florida, Mack and Jonnie only trusted Haik and others at the Hamilton Eye Institute with their eye care and overall health.

Caring for their health remotely from Memphis, Haik went the extra mile and it was noticed by the Days, who became staunch supporters of the Hamilton Eye Institute and golf—their first love—at UT Knoxville. Even after the death of Mack, Haik's coordinator, Blanca Phillips, became Jonnie's advocate as she maneuvered the health care system to secure home health aids in her final years.

She still had her independence as she lost her sight. And that made her smile, recalls Phillips.

High-wattage smiles plastered their faces on the golf course. After all, they were really good, and they had the Westchester County New York Husband and Wife Championship Award along with hundreds of others to prove it. Even in Nassau, Bahamas, where they lived from 1960 to 1970, they sponsored many golf tournaments. When Mack wasn't on the clock as a senior-level executive with Wometco International, the Pepsi Cola bottling operation and Nassau Vending Company, he was on the fairway.

"They cared deeply about medical research," recalls Haik. "They were attentive to the world around them."

You Can Make a Difference
For information on planning a gift to support future students at UT, contact the Office of Planned Giving at (865) 974-4826 or today.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.