A Passion for Learning Drives Generous Commitment to Morristown Medical
When George L. Shinn retired from a career in investment banking at age 60, he certainly didn't take it easy in his golden years. Instead, he made two bold moves: First he bought an airplane, and then he started graduate classes, the first step to his second career as a college professor.
"I got my master's at Drew University, and I was having so much fun, I got a PhD at age 68," says the former longtime Morristown resident. For the next eight years, until he and his wife Clara moved to Scarborough, Maine, he taught English literature at Drew's graduate school.
It's his yen for learning that also inspired Mr. Shinn to join The Brookfield Legacy Society by making a $1 million endowment to benefit library science and medical education at Morristown Medical. This planned gift is an irrevocable pledge for donors over age 65. The donor makes annual pledge payments and receives a charitable tax deduction each year. Any remainder is paid later, through the donor's will, even though during his or her lifetime the donor is recognized for the total gift and receives Brookfield Legacy Society benefits, such as inclusion on the hospital Donor Wall.
Mr. Shinn's gift ensures that the hospital's library remains current. "Medical libraries are extremely important, particularly for a teaching hospital," he says. "There has to be a source that can be depended upon with the latest information on disease and research."
For a man from humble surroundings—the industrial town of Newark, Ohio—giving back is important. "I wasn't raised in a wealthy family, but I wanted to give something back to the community I enjoyed living in," he says.
Through a scholarship, Mr. Shinn attended Amherst College but left in 1942 to join the Marine Corps to be trained as a naval aviator. He was a flight instructor during World War II. "I fell in love with flying, and I made up my mind that when I retired I'd buy an airplane," says the father of five.
But first came a 27-year career with Merrill Lynch, where he was ultimately president. He later became chairman and chief executive at First Boston Corporation until his retirement.
Over the next 20 years, until age 80, he fueled his passion by flying his twin-engine plane. These days, he lives with his wife in an assisted-living facility near the edge of the ocean. Anyone who knows him won't be surprised if a marine biology course is next on his horizon.