Finding a Plan with the Right Chemistry
SMU Professor Ed Biehl was an aspiring professional pianist when undergraduate science courses changed his life. Opportunities to engage in research sparked a love of chemistry that has inspired him to set the stage for similar discoveries by future SMU students.
Ed calls his initial decision to take a scientific career path a "whim." After serving in the military, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill. Like many first-year students, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so he made a snap judgment at registration to follow a pre-med track after hearing the student in front of him declare a pre-med major.
The rest, as they say, is history. After earning a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in chemistry from Pitt, he moved to Dallas with his young family in 1962 to join the SMU faculty. His wife, Julianne, and three of their four children are graduates of the University.
On any given day, Ed can be seen striding along campus walkways as he heads to and from his nearby home. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of benzyne chemistry and microwave synthesis, he has more than 200 publications in scientific journals to his credit.
"I have enjoyed every bit of my career at SMU," he says. "Working with my students—whether they are non-majors taking beginning chemistry or students conducting important research—has been and continues to be incredibly rewarding."
As a meaningful way to support SMU and, in particular, the department of chemistry in Dedman College, Ed and Julianne have established 10 charitable gift annuities with the University. Upon establishing each contract, they were entitled to an income tax deduction.
Through the annuities, he and Julianne will receive a dependable stream of payments for the rest of their lives, and afterward, the remaining funds will be directed to The Edward R. and Julianne A. Biehl Endowment Fund for Chemistry to support the chemistry department in perpetuity.
"I like knowing that I am going to receive a set annuity payment each quarter, and I know that my gift will eventually provide support for the chemistry department," Ed says. "Gift annuities are great, and I really encourage other SMU supporters to think about this kind of gift."