May 5, 2016

I am fortunate to have been raised in a home by parents who valued education and nurtured my intellectual curiosity. That may explain why I think of myself as a perpetual student – and why I made the decision to include the Gillings School of Global Public Health in my estate planning.

My work in Duke University’s Division of Occupation and Environmental Medicine and my commitment, through volunteer work, to provide assistance to those in need, made my decision to pursue a Master of Public Health degree an obvious choice. In the Gillings School’s Public Health Leadership Program, I met knowledgeable, world-renowned educators and was excited by conversations between faculty members and students across multidisciplinary lines. Those collaborative endeavors fostered didactic and practicum learning that translates smoothly into a profession in public health anywhere in the world.

Estate planning and preparing a will are not at the top of anyone’s to-do list. However, it is critical that such decisions be made and recorded so that one’s intentions are communicated clearly.

Several years ago, my parents and I planned a trip to Paris. I thought it was way too early to be thinking about a will, but since we all would be traveling together, I decided to put something in writing before the trip. It was important to me to recognize the people and organizations that mean the most to me, so I planned for a gift to my undergraduate school (Davidson College) and the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

People, places and experiences throughout our lives create the tapestry of who we become. My family and friends, my Church and my education have made me the person that I am today – and for that I am very grateful. I never thought of myself as having a legacy. However, if I look at what I value in my life – my work in the community to help end homelessness and improve access to health care for those who are underserved; my planned gift to allow others to pursue their potential through education – then maybe that is a legacy? I like to think so.

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