Dr. E. Vernon Smith

Dr. E. Vernon Smith first stepped onto the University of Kentucky's campus in the mid 1930s. His decision to attend the university would make a major impact—both on his own life and the university's future.

A Commitment to Education

As a UK undergraduate, Dr. Smith was busy. He studied hard in hopes of attending medical school, played saxophone in the university's marching band, worked a part-time job to save money, and became a lifelong fan of the UK Wildcats.

Eventually, his hard work paid off. Upon graduation, he attended medical school then launched a successful career spanning over 40 years. All the while, he hoped to find a way to thank UK for what it had given him.

A Commitment to Love and Service

A longtime bachelor, Dr. Smith married Eloise Covert in 1976 after a cousin introduced them.

"Eloise was a smart, hard-working person," Dr. Smith said of his late wife. "We had a lot of fun. She loved life. She loved horses. We traveled all over the world together."

Dr. Smith and his wife shared a passion for giving back. They were discussing ways to help support UK when Eloise was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and Dr. Smith began to suffer from macular degeneration.

Alzheimer's disease ultimately claimed Eloise's life in 1997. Still, Dr. Smith wanted to make as big an impact as he could. He thought about what mattered most to him—the passions he developed, the causes he cared for, the people who loved him—and funneled it all into his gift for UK —a blend of outright and planned giving. The result is a poignant and heartfelt tribute, spread across multiple UK schools and disciplines, to help students and faculty reach their highest potential.

Dr. Smith honored his immediate family, and lessened the financial burden of students, by creating endowed scholarships in medicine, nursing, and band. In honor of his uncle, a great influence in his life, he created a faculty fellowship in business. In honor of the countless faculty members who taught the subjects most important to him, Dr. Smith endowed professorships in history, nursing, and medicine. In support of the fight against the debilitating illness from which he suffered, he endowed academic chairs in macular degeneration, to help research a cure.

And in a final love letter to his beloved wife, Eloise, Dr. Smith endowed the academic chairs in Alzheimer's disease research who he hoped would help cure that life-altering disease.

"We are both honored and grateful to have received Dr. Smith's generous gifts," stated UK President Eli Capilouto. "Dr. Smith's gifts are a testament to his faith in the mission of this university, and will continue to benefit UK and the Commonwealth for generations to come."

Like Dr. Smith, you can channel what you're passionate about into a planned gift at the University of Kentucky. To learn more, contact Gift and Estate Planning at (859) 257-7886 or giftandestate@uky.edu.