Gift Planning

Cornelia Browne '57 honors husband, William A. Browne '57, by supporting undergraduate research

Cornelia BrowneWilliam (Bill) and Cornelia Browne shared a love for each other and a love for lifelong learning. That love inspired Cornelia to establish the William A. Browne IV Fund at Miami University. This year, the fund supports two premedical research projects led by four Miami undergraduates.

One of those projects examines the changes in body weight and feeding behavior of northern cardinals. Senior zoology and creative writing major Emma Wunderlich and senior biology major Lauren Wylie, who are leading the project, hope that their research will lead to a better understanding of insulin-related disorders and how to treat them.

"My time with this project has led to a practical understanding of biology, ecology, and how to produce credible medical research," Lauren says. "It was the perfect way to combine my personal and academic interests during my time here as a student."

Emma says the project has allowed her to expand her understanding of ecological and endocrinological biology.

"As a future veterinarian, I will be utilizing all that I've learned for the rest of my life," she says. Aonesti Williams, a senior biology and premedical studies major, and Desi Ritchey, a junior nutrition and premedical studies major, are studying population genetics of mice from the state of Michigan. They hope to discover that the mice are able to retain their genetic variability due to migration from other mice populations.

"The support from the Browne Fund really helped us take a deep dive into this research," Aonesti says. "This project has been one of the best parts of my time at Miami and I feel much better prepared to go to medical school as a result."

A native of Greenville, Ohio, William A. Browne enrolled in Miami University in 1953, where he met Cornelia Clark, an elementary education major from Xenia. Like so many Miamians, the two quickly fell in love, married during their junior year and lived together 57 years as Miami Mergers.

The two moved to Philadelphia after graduating while Bill attended medical school and subsequently returned to Greenville, where he set up a family medical practice.

The Brownes returned to Oxford in 1985, where Bill served as the director of student health services at Miami. During his time, Bill oversaw the department's move from MacMillan Hall to a new space on Campus Avenue, where it remains today.

In retirement, Bill and Cornelia kept learning as voracious readers and Bill met in the morning with his close "coffee buddies" to settle Oxford and world affairs. He also enjoyed gardening and spending time in his summer home in Canada.

Throughout all of his time practicing and learning, Bill always credited his opportunities and success to his education at Miami. In keeping with his appreciation for his education, Bill named Miami as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.

Following a long battle with cancer, Bill passed away in 2013 and Cornelia established the William A. Browne IV Fund.

"Bill gave Miami the glory for having presented him with such a wonderful education," Cornelia says. "We always felt so grateful for our opportunity to study at Miami and we wanted to pay something back."

Cornelia recently visited campus to meet the students benefiting from her and Bill's generosity.

"It's very rewarding," she says. "This is a dream come true that I would be helping these students further their educations."

To learn more about ways you can support Miami and our students (and honor a loved one in the process), contact Miami's Office of Gift Planning at 513-529-1286 or

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Miami University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Miami University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 725 E. Chestnut Street, Oxford, OH 45056, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Miami or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Miami as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Miami as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Miami where you agree to make a gift to Miami and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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