Arline and Scott Alexander’s relationship with heart valves began in 1979, before they even married.
“Arline was born with a congenital heart defect, and she got very sick very quickly at work one day,” said Scott Alexander, IMGT 1976. “We were dating then, and I went over to her place to check on her because she’d left work sick, and the next thing I knew she was at Emory Hospital getting her first valve implant.”
Their relationship with these life-saving devices will continue for many years, thanks to their support of research in Regents Professor Emeritus Ajit Yoganathan’s lab in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.
When the Alexanders moved to Hilton Head from Denver in 2020, they updated their wills. In the process, they continued — and expanded — their generous philanthropy in support of Georgia Tech through a will provision.
“I had read about the research that Dr. Y was doing with heart valves, and it blew me away,” Scott Alexander said. Arline is now a two-time recipient of a heart valve, so the couple felt a strong connection to helping fund this research. The second — implanted in 1996 — “is the exact model Dr. Y. helped develop,” Alexander said.
The Alexanders have since made an outright gift to support this research, along with the most recent bequest.
“We were able to meet with Dr. Y and his team. They are still doing great research, including Star Wars-type research with laser printers,” Alexander said. At a subsequent meeting with their financial advisor, the couple “decided to direct the balance of our estate to Georgia Tech to support biomedical research,” he said.
Despite their move to a community where many residents are retired, Scott Alexander continues to work in the lighting industry. “As long as it’s fun I’m not going to stop doing it. I’ve developed 30 years of relationships in this industry,” he explained. Arline is retired from Invesco.
As for their philanthropy: “We aren’t the kind of people who need a marching band and a Goodyear Blimp – we like to stay more under the radar in terms of giving. But Dr. Y’s team’s dedication and devotion to their work amazes us,” he said. “We are grateful to be able to help shape the future of this life-changing cardiology research and the development of better heart valves.”