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Arkansas couple leave legacy to benefit architecture program, Alzheimer’s research

Scott & Jeannette Davies

Scott and Jeannette Davies are shining examples of leaving a legacy at the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center.

Scott Davies grew up in Camden, Ark., and enrolled at KU in 1974 at the age of 17. He had good scores on the ACT and SAT as a high school junior and wanted to get started studying architectural engineering.

Davies applied to schools with AE programs, and KU took him, even with only a six-semester high school transcript.

His unconventional start didn’t deter him: He changed course slightly and received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from KU in 1979.

“I still don’t have a high school diploma,” Davies said. “I’m a statistic — a high school dropout with a college degree.”

When Davies graduated from KU, he went returned to Arkansas. An administrative assistant in his office introduced him to a friend of hers named Jeannette, and they immediately hit it off.

“She’s a sweetie, and I wouldn’t be half the person I am without her,” Davies said of his wife of almost 40 years. They now live in Hot Springs, Ark.

Scott and Jeannette Davies’ dedication to each other and to KU came together when they created estate plans to support the university and the medical center. They established a professorship in the School of Architecture & Design honoring retired professor Lou Michel. They also created a fund named for Jeannette to support Alzheimer’s disease research after she received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2014.

The Davies made their gift plans by designating KU Endowment as a beneficiary of Scott’s IRA in combination with residual funds from his revocable trust. That money will support the Lou Michel Architecture Professorship in Design Theory.

A portion of the residual funds from his revocable trust also will benefit the Jeanette Davies Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Fund, which supports the work of the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Scott says he is glad he could be in control of his legacy. He already has plans to take advantage of the qualified charitable distribution option in a few years when he turns 70.5. This opportunity currently allows him to roll over up to $100,000 per year of IRA assets tax free to his named funds.

“I appreciate that I can use my required minimum distribution from my retirement account to fund these interests at KU,” Scott said. “I would like to start putting money where we want it to go.”

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