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Alumnus provides APSU with gift of $2.5-plus million in estate plan

By the time you reach my age, most people have figured out Gods purpose in our lives, says Austin Peay State University alumnus Dr. D. Philip Roe. I believe my purpose is two-fold: To serve others and to leave the world better than I found it.

A busy obstetrician/gynecologist and mayor of Johnson City, Roe and his wife, Pam, have established a charitable trust that will provide a minimum gift of $2.5 million to APSU.
“By the time you reach my age, most people have figured out God's purpose in our lives,” says Austin Peay State University alumnus Dr. D. Philip Roe. “I believe my purpose is two-fold: To serve others and to leave the world better than I found it.”

A busy obstetrician/gynecologist and mayor of Johnson City, Roe and his wife, Pam, have established a charitable trust that will provide a minimum gift of $2.5 million to APSU.

Among the reasons Roe cites for establishing an estate plan at this time is his desire to show his appreciation for the work of President-emeritus Sherry Hoppe and Roy Gregory, executive director for University Advancement.

“And I wanted to jump start the new administration of President Tim Hall,” Roe said. “I hope others will think about establishing a charitable-remainder trust. It's a win-win situation.”

Although it has not been determined as yet how Roe's gift will be used, he says he wants to augment the scholarship he established years ago to honor his former mentor and premed adviser, Dr. Durward Harris, professor emeritus of chemistry. He also wants to establish a scholarship to honor Dave Loos, athletics director and head men's basketball coach, as well as one to honor Gregory for “a super job in moving us ‘down the field' in fundraising.”

Roe says he plans to pay tribute to his parents, Rose and the late Tommy Roe of Clarksville. Roe will establish a memorial scholarship for his father and will honor his mother with a scholarship.

“God has blessed me and my family so much,” Roe says. “Mother is the most giving person I know. She has been my example of giving. Mom is 85 and, at a time in her life when others should be waiting on her, she's down at Clarksville's Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen cooking and serving food for those less fortunate.”

A 1967 graduate of APSU, Roe was elected chair of the APSU Foundation Board of Trustees this fall, having served previously as vice chair. Despite living and working hours away in eastern Tennessee, Roe never allowed distance to be an excuse for not serving APSU.

In Fall 2006, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Charles Manning presented Roe with the 2006 Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, a statewide award based on generous financial support of TBR schools and higher education, exceptional civic responsibility and highest integrity. According to Manning, the award criteria describe Roe perfectly.

Roe is a member of APSU's first capital campaign committee, which exceeded its goal months ahead of schedule. He served the APSU National Alumni Association (APSUNAA) as president, vice president and past president and, in 1996, was presented the Outstanding Service Award by the APSUNAA.

Because of Roe's continuing generosity to the science departments at APSU, a wing of the Sundquist Science Complex was named for him. An avid sports fan, Roe takes as much pride in the Govs' academic accomplishments as he does their athletic achievements. Thanks to a gift from Roe, there is a state-of-the-art athletic academic center in the Dunn Center.

In December 2005 during Commencement ceremonies, Roe received the highest honor APSU can conveythe Distinguished Achievement Award.

Eleven years earlier, Roe was the keynote speaker for the Winter 1994 Commencement. He told the graduates that it's important, when they get older and have the resources, to give back so other young people can have the opportunity to succeed like them.

Addressing the graduating class and their friends and families, Roe said, “When I went to medical school, my lab partner was a Harvard graduate, and he was not as prepared as I. I know I will never invest in anything that will return me what my Austin Peay education has.”

Speaking of Roe, APSU President Timothy Hall said, “Dr. Phil Roe has been one of Austin Peay's most steadfast friends and generous benefactors. This latest gift is a capstone to a long career of generosity toward his alma mater. His support and leadership are making a difference in the lives of our students.”

Although Roe jokes that it takes “an inch-and-a-half document to die,” he's serious when he says, “This charitable-remainder trust will help Austin Peay students long after I'm gone.

“I'm never going to see its benefits, but it's one way to leave this world a better place than when I arrived.” -- Dennie B. Burke