Campus News

Donor honors grandparents with creation of UT Martin Legacy Fund


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. — Martha Coleman Edinger, daughter of longtime Obion County residents Kenneth and Carolyn Coleman, has established the University of Tennessee at Martin Lexie and Verna B. Coleman Family Legacy Fund in memory of her grandparents. This fund will be used to support international travel for UT Martin history majors.

The Coleman family has lived in Northwest Tennessee for almost 200 years. Lexie and Verna Coleman had 10 children, and the last surviving child, Kenneth, has lived on his Obion County farm for 59 years.

The first trip to be supported by the legacy fund will take place May 20-June 1, 2018, and is designed to commemorate the centennial of the Great War. The travel-study itinerary includes stops in London and Paris and a five-day coach tour of the principal battlefields and memorials of the Western Front.

Trip highlights include the Imperial War Museum in England; the In Flanders Field Museum in Belgium; and the cathedral of Reims, American Memorial Cemetery, Verdun battlefield and memorial, World War I Museum, Invalides Museum and palace of Versailles in France.

“Travel study will enhance the students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom and their usual study of history. They will see where history took place firsthand on the Great War battlefields and where the Treaty of Versailles was signed and the seeds of World War II were sown,” said Edinger. “The students will also have opportunities to get out of their comfort zones – eat bangers and mash in London or a croissant in Paris. We plan for them to experience different cultures and have some fun while immersing in this transformative class.”

“Martha Edinger’s vision and generosity in creating the Coleman Family Legacy Fund are at once inspirational and empowering,” said Dr. David Coffey, chair of the UT Martin Department of History and Philosophy. “In addition to faculty-led travel study, her investment will support internships as well as student research and writing, all core elements of our mission to provide an outstanding undergraduate education. Her commitment is also reflected in an annual scholarship to be awarded to a deserving history major. Thanks to Martha Edinger, we can provide an even more vibrant and valuable educational experience for our students.”

Scholarships to cover up to half the cost of the trip are available for UT Martin history majors, and students may be eligible for course credit. Space is also available for community members to join students and faculty on the trip.

For more information, contact faculty members Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls at or Dr. Ricky Garlitz at


PHOTO ID: Martha Coleman Edinger (center) is pictured with Dr. Alice-Catherine Carls (left), Tom Elam Distinguished Professor of History, and Dr. David Coffey, chair of the UT Martin Department of History and Philosophy.

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