An Exponential Gift

Morehead Alumnus and Retired Heart Surgeon Honors University Foundations that Shaped Him

Joe Craver ’63, ’67 (MD) just retired from a 31-year career as a full-time cardiac surgeon and professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. Reflecting on his life, Craver felt that there were some pivotal moments for which he was very grateful. The first big one, he said, after being born to and reared by his parents, was attending Carolina as a Morehead Scholar.

“This award presented significant opportunities as well as challenges to me —to justify their selection,” he said. “I endeavored to meet those, and I’m now even more grateful for their support and for UNC.”

Leadership became synonymous with Craver on the Carolina campus. He co-captained the football team and received numerous awards as an undergraduate as well as a student at the UNC School of Medicine.

Craver felt that he would like to make a tangible gift to UNC to express his gratitude. He and his wife, Amelia, decided that they were not as dependent on his 401(k) retirement funds as expected. Also, because these funds are taxed at the maximum rate if used personally or passed as inheritance, they seemed ideal for a charitable gift. Craver sought a creative way to use these funds while he was still alive. He learned he could buy a commercial annuity within his IRA rollover account and name the UNC Medical Foundation and the Morehead Scholarship Foundation as charitable beneficiaries. Upon his death, they would receive the full corpus (currently valued at $1.25 million, plus their growth) as endowment funds. The UNC Medical Foundation will use $250,000 of these funds to establish the Joseph M. Craver Teaching Professorship. He also will make annual gifts from the annuity income he receives to provide each foundation with current resources during his lifetime.

“This way, the benefits start now for both of us,” Craver said.

Craver also purchased life insurance policies for each to protect the values of the ultimate principal distributions to both foundations.

The son of teachers, Craver enjoyed teaching every single day of his professional career, and thinks of teaching as a way to “extend one’s life’s work exponentially.” He is now taking that legacy of teaching in another direction by showing others how to discover creative ways to use their resources.


If you’re interested
in creating
your Carolina legacy,
please contact
Mary Margaret Carroll
of The Medical Foundation
of North Carolina, Inc.,
at 919-843-8443 or