Giving From the Heart

Debi ColemanDebi Coleman had long associated herself with innovation.

In 1981, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs hired Debi Coleman as project controller of the Macintosh team. From there, she held multiple roles at Apple, including vice president for operations, chief financial officer, and vice president for information systems and technology. She left Apple in 1992 to join Tektronix, and in 2000 formed the venture capital firm SmartForest Ventures LLC, specializing in early investments in tech companies throughout the Portland, Oregon area.

Coleman died October 15, 2021 at age 69. She is survived by her mother and four siblings.

Before she passed away, Coleman brought her own generosity to Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute. In addition to donating over $1 million to various areas of OHSU and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital throughout her lifetime, she joined other donors in support of the Melvin Judkins Professorship by establishing a major gift in her estate plan to fully endow the position.

An endowed position—especially when named in honor of a distinguished individual—is OHSU’s most powerful means of honoring highly accomplished faculty. It provides a faculty leader with substantial annual support with which to advance their key priorities.

This award is named for Melvin Judkins, M.D., a radiologist recognized internationally as an authority on radiologic equipment and on the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

The impact of this generous gift is explained by Joaquin E. Cigarroa, M.D, the division head of cardiology and professor of medicine at the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. “We are incredibly appreciative of Debi’s generosity,” said Dr. Cigarroa. “This gift will grant us access to resources that allow us to support areas of research in interventional cardiology, ischemic heart disease, and heart attacks. It will also help us mentor the next generation of providers and invest in our current faculty.”

Interventional cardiology uses catheter-based techniques to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease. During interventional cardiology procedures, specially trained experts use catheters to determine how blood is flowing through the heart and correct defects.

Cigarroa recalled Coleman as an amazing person and remarkable trailblazer in her career. And yet when you talked to her, she led with humanity, humility, and curiosity, he said. Gifts such as Coleman’s make a fundamental difference in OHSU’s capabilities.

“It’s important to listen to donors so we can truly understand how to be the best steward of a gift,” said Dr. Cigarroa.

He continued, “OHSU has a history of shedding light on areas that need innovation to transform how cardiovascular medicine is understood and practiced. That’s why funds like this are so important: not only to provide outstanding care with what we currently know, but also to challenge ourselves on how to do things better. Donors like Debi help us continue to devote resources to focus on unmet needs.”

Feel Good About Giving Back

Matching your values to your philanthropy is a powerful way to do good in the world. Debi’s love for innovation led to a legacy that will drive OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital forward. To discuss how you can help shape the future of compassionate care, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at 503-228-1730 or