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Ice cream is Bill Swatek's favorite dessert while his loving wife Rose prefers baked goods and pastries. So when Ron Watson, the couple's planned giving officer at Loma Linda University, proposed a trip to Cold Stone Creamery in Loma Linda on Wednesday July 18, 2012, Rose only agreed after he promised to take them to a bakery the following week.

The couple whose gift sparked construction of the Centennial Complex at Loma Linda University credits a doctor visit for bringing them together.

"I was a nurse at a clinic on Sanitarium Hill," Rose Swatek recalls. "Bill had problems with his ears and came for treatment. Later, he came back for new eyeglasses." Rose's roommate, who knew Bill from college, claimed he was her boyfriend. Rose thought otherwise. "I was more interested in Rose," Bill confirms. On his third visit to the clinic, Rose suspected he had romance in mind. She was right. The couple married on April 17, 1946.

Sixty-six years later, the Swatek's are discussing the impact of a promise Bill made in 1949 to the College of Medical Evangelists, as LLU was called in those days. "Someday," he vowed, "I'm going to come back and show my appreciation to the school."

For the next five decades, Bill worked in or directed the pathology laboratories of hospitals in Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, and Mississippi. In 1982, after telling Rose it was time to slow down, he "semi-retired" by running three hospital laboratories, performing forensics exams for three counties, and teaching pathology. In 1988, the couple retired in Loma Linda. Once again, Bill found idleness difficult. For the next seven years, he substituted for physicians on vacation, finally relinquishing the stethoscope at 75.

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Over the course of their lives, the couple raised a family, worked hard, and amassed a considerable estate during the 66 years (and counting) of their life together. By working with Ron Watson, a planned giving officer at Loma Linda University, the Swatek's established a series of financial instruments to pay the bills and provide supplemental income to their children as well as benefit the university.

Interested in developing estate plans that would benefit Loma Linda University, Bill and Rose met Ron Watson and Gary Oliver at the 1988 Annual Postgraduate Convention. Although the Planned Giving officers suggested they contact an attorney about their estate, the Swateks preferred to work with the Office of Planned Giving.

Rose and Bill never regretted that decision. Mr. Watson and Mr. Oliver helped set up unitrusts to pay the Swateks' bills, opened unitrusts to provide quarterly income for their children, Claude and Pam, and established a revocable trust so that when Rose and Bill pass away, their estate will establish several endowed funds.

Loma Linda University President Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, who has known Dr. and Mrs. Swatek for most of his life, says their support of the new Founders Plaza and other important projects will bless the campus far into the future.

"Bill and Rose are unpretentious, hard-working, and totally committed to the values of Loma Linda University," Dr. Hart reflects. "They lived frugally, invested wisely, and always planned on giving back. "Their generous support will impact this institution for generations to come."

For more information on unitrusts, revocable trusts or creating an estate plan, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at Loma Linda University by phone at 909-558-4553, by email legacy@llu.edu or online.

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