Skip to Content
  • Mark Biernath
  • Allens Schollars
  • Giles
  • Tony Holcombe's Love of History Leads to Planned Gift for Scholarships
  • Returning the Favor: Scholarship Gift Gives Back to Georgia State
  • Bill and Rita Loventhal: A Leap of Faith That Paid Off

The Debianne and Robert Peterman Scholarship: Paying It Forward

Debianne Peterman

Alumna Debianne Peterman believes GSU made a difference in her life and wants to help future students reach their dreams.

Debianne Peterman was an 18-year-old bride when she gave birth to her son, Joshua. Doctors diagnosed the newborn with a Group B strep infection and immediately spirited the little boy into a special care nursery in another area of the hospital. The new mother, left to recover in the orthopedics ward, swore that if she ever had anything to say about it, mothers and babies would never be separated.

When Joshua was a toddler, Debianne flipped through a Georgia State University catalog, looking for appealing classes. She was drawn to the nursing program, which at that time allowed students to earn an associate's degree, become licensed RNs, and later return to complete a full bachelor's degree in nursing. Her first marriage was falling apart, but the newly single mother stuck with the nursing program, completing her degree with the support of scholarship funding.

"I owe Georgia State my career," says Debianne, now vice president and chief nursing officer for Women's and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., the very hospital where she was born. She serves a dual role, overseeing nursing education and professional practice for Kaleida Health, the largest health care provider in Western New York.

Making a Difference
Debianne and her husband, Robert, recently committed a planned gift to the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, sponsoring an endowed scholarship to be awarded with a preference to single parents who maintain a GPA of 3.5 or more.

"I really believe GSU shaped me," Debianne says. "The professors I had, the environment of being in downtown Atlanta, being exposed to the legislature and the downtown businesses and everything that was going on. It gave me a passion for being community-minded, politically minded, and aware of how this all connected health care to the community."

A few years later, Debianne sought a master's degree from Emory, following the convention that one should never get all their degrees from one school. But 17 years later, when it was time for her to pursue her doctoral degree, GSU was the only school she considered. She's proud to be a "triple Panther," and her doctoral diploma hangs on her office wall with an etching of the school - the focus of the room. "I never did anything the easy way, and I know there are a lot of people in the same situation."

She remained committed to the school, giving of her time as president of the Alumni Association board as well as the advisory board for what was then called the College of Health and Human Sciences. After accepting a professional position in Nashville, she returned to Atlanta for every meeting, something even locally based members couldn't muster.

"Debianne has put her heart and soul into Georgia State, and we are especially grateful for her financial commitment as well as her time and energy," says Margaret Wilmoth, dean of the school. "This planned gift allows us to provide financial assistance to future health care student parents who are striving to make life better for themselves and their families and the patients they aspire to serve."

Debianne has a vision for the future of nursing at GSU. "I would like to see the nursing program ranked in the top 25," she says. "I would like to see a center of excellence for nursing be developed at GSU. The university is right in the heart of Atlanta, and you've got everything within a few miles - the Centers for Disease Control and GSU's programs in law, nutrition, public health, urban policy, and even criminal justice - everything necessary to provide a multidisciplinary curriculum. When we are not doing education in silos, but really teaching people right from the get-go how to work in teams around a patient, I think that would be ideal."

Create Your Vision
If you would like to support the programs important to you at Georgia State University by including us in your estate plans, please contact Natalie Baker at 404-413-3425 or We will be happy to help you find a gift option to meet your goals.


eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

can't see me

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Georgia State 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 Georgia State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at P.O. Box 3965 Atlanta, GA 30302-3965, 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 the Foundation 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 the Foundation 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 the Foundation 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 the Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Foundation 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.