Director of Gift Planning
Eric may not be able to decipher sheet music, but that never stopped him from belting out a tune as a member of his high school honors choir in Ohio. After graduating from Ashland University, he lent his voice to a barbershop chorus. His downtime these days includes spending time with his girlfriend, Melissa, perfecting his golf swing, indulging in barbecue, sampling bourbon and traveling (“Can’t wait to go back to Gulf Shores!”).
When I grew up I wanted to be . . .
the next great sports writer or sports broadcaster. Growing up in Ohio, I wanted to cover the Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State Buckeyes and Cincinnati Bengals. I did work in that industry for a few years after college and I had a blast. I was the radio play-by-play voice for University of Findlay Oilers (NCAA Division II) football, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey in 2003 and 2004. While working at Ashland University, I was doing some freelance work in 2012 as a sports reporter and contributor for WMFD-TV in Mansfield, Ohio.
If I was gifted with a secret power it would be . . .
for the common good? I wish I had the power to be able to solve the problems of others quickly—be it medical, financial, family or otherwise. I would want the ability to provide advice or guidance to resources that can help others live life better. To be able to give back to others in ways that so many have given to me. But on a more selfish level, I wish I had an effortless, smooth, painless golf swing that allowed me to break 80 on a consistent basis.
My job is . . .
to help people who want to help students and faculty at UT, but just need some help in finding the right way to do so. A way that allows them to protect what they have earned, provide for the people (family) they care about, and share what they want with UT, a place they care about.
To understand what I do, you must understand . . .
it’s more than just memorizing and reciting current tax law. Or being able to sketch out how a charitable gift annuity works on a dinner napkin. Gift planning is more exciting than people think it is. Our team deals with many diverse and talented people. First, there are the donors, along with their families, that will be affected by their decision to give back to UT. Next, would be the lawyers, financial advisors and accountants that work with our donors. They are charged in acting in their client’s best interests and sometime need to be educated on how these transformational gifts can make things better for their clients and for UT. Then here on campus, our team works with development officers, deans and department heads. Our team is honored to work with many talented and passionate folks that want to do what is best for UT and for their families.
I advance the mission of the university by . . .
by helping all nine colleges on the Knoxville campus and entities that don’t fit into a college (Libraries, McClung, POTSB, student organizations, etc.) in cultivating relationships with their supporters while also exploring ways in which folks can give back that are more than just “writing a check.” These gifts, in the long-term, can be truly transformational to programs. In my travels, I especially enjoy those days where I go from having breakfast with a College of Nursing graduate to a lunch with a College of Engineering graduate then to an afternoon meeting with a College of Business graduate. All of whom are thankful and grateful for the education they received at UT and want to give back in ways that are meaningful for them. And we get to explore what their wishes and hopes are for UT and how they can make those a reality by giving from their estate or retirement plan or by sharing appreciated assets with UT.
My life mantra is . . .
“To do what ought to be done but would not have been done unless I did it, I thought to be my duty.” -Robert Morrison, Phi Delta Theta Founding Father
My theme song is . . .
“Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters. The chorus just gets right to it:
It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
I learned the meaning of giving from . . .
being a recipient of scholarships from Ashland University and from my fraternity Phi Delta Theta. I learned the power and impact of education by working as a student assistant in the admissions office at AU.
Few know that I . . .
was a member of the Putnam County (Ohio) Honors Choir for multiple years during high school. I got turned onto singing in my youth as a way to combat stuttering. Then after college, sang in a barbershop chorus (the Lima Beane) for a few years. Not bad for a guy that can’t read a single note of sheet music!