Donor Story: A Gift of a Lifetime

Cutline: Beverly and Dudley Coates (standing, from left) with their daughters Holly Coates Carville (seated, from left), Camille Coates and Cathy Coates.
Beverly and Dudley Coates (standing, from left) with their daughters Holly Coates Carville (seated, from left), Camille Coates and Cathy Coates.

How do you decide on a gift for a father who has traveled the world and whose wish list is essentially blank? For the daughters of Dudley and Beverly Coates, the choice was simple. They wanted to ensure that their father’s lifetime efforts become part of his legacy. Dudley Coates has long supported Pennington Biomedical’s research dedicated to developing better treatments and cures for chronic diseases, especially meaningful to him because it is taking place right here at home.

As a Christmas gift to their father, the Coates’ daughters—Cathy, Holly and Camille—chose to honor his efforts by making a gift to Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation for the creation of the Dudley and Beverly Coates Endowed Professorship at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“Pennington Biomedical’s achievements and goals are truly remarkable,” says Cathy Coates after visiting the facility and learning more about its work. “In light of our father’s deep respect for this world-class research institution, my sisters and I are excited to honor his legacy of philanthropy by continuing to support Pennington’s ongoing work dedicated to better health worldwide.”

Dudley Coates believes in investing in the future. A community leader who saw the great value in creating a nutrition research center in Baton Rouge, Coates became a supporter of Pennington Biomedical early in its tenure as a research center. He was part of the team that helped recruit Pennington Biomedical’s first executive director, Dr. George A. Bray, and as Coates puts it, “That investment has certainly not disappointed. Pennington Biomedical has grown and gotten bigger and better, and what a campus it is today.”

Over the past 25 years Coates has been steadfast in support to help sustain Pennington Biomedical’s advancement year after year. Dudley and Beverly are founding members of the Council of 100, participating at the Foundation’s highest level of annual support. Additionally, he has provided targeted support to researchers such as Dr. Jeff Keller, whose research with Pennington Biomedical’s Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention focuses on new ways to prevent, manage and hopefully one day cure Alzheimer’s disease.

After participating in a study that helped improve his own health, Coates reflects that he became a backer and then a buddy of Dr. Frank Greenway, whose work in Pennington Biomedical’s outpatient clinic has advanced countless clinical trials.

“I want to help wherever I can. The work of Pennington Biomedical is vitally important. It is a powerful institution that is changing lives,” says Coates. “I get a lump in my throat every time I ride by the beautiful campus and think about what goes on behind those walls to help us all have a healthier world. Doc Pennington did all of us a favor, he really did.”