Planned Giving

A Life's Work Reborn
Edwin Robertson

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What do you do with 13,051 frozen cattle embryos? Create a gift that will train countless future reproduction practitioners and transform current cattle research.

Edwin Robertson dedicated much of his life to pioneering reproduction advances in beef cattle. He was among the first veterinarians to perform nonsurgical embryo transfers.

"In Tennessee, he was it," said Neal Schrick, head of the UT Department of Animal Science. "If you wanted to do embryo transfer, you went to Edwin."

Since 1977, Robertson has collected more than 28,000 donors, transferred more than 119,000 embryos, and frozen more than 86,000 embryos. Embryo transfer is a procedure used to remove and transfer an embryo from a superovulated female into the uterus of another female. The procedure is now common in beef cattle reproduction, much in part thanks to the work and legacy of Robertson—who attended UT in 1970.

"Edwin donated some embryos in the ’90s to Dr. Schrick," said Judy Roberson, Edwin's wife of forty-three years.

However, when he passed in 2014, thousands of frozen embryos remained.

"I wanted them to go to the University," said his wife and high school sweetheart. "By giving these embryos, I think that mentorship will go on."

That mentorship Judy Robertson mentioned was the countless hours Edwin Robertson dedicated to training and mentoring the next generation of veterinarians and reproduction specialists.

According to Schrick, the unprecedented gift of genetic material will be invaluable in classrooms to train students in reproduction. It will also be used in research studies to further advance the field.

"To know that these embryos will be used to train the next generations of practitioners would please him because it was his life's work," said the Robertsons' son, Adam Robertson.

To discover ways you can impact teaching and research at the UT Institute of Agriculture with a planned gift, download this brochure. For more questions, contact Angelia M. Nystrom, JD, LLM, at 865-974-7423 or anystrom@tennessee.edu.

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