Archived News

Gifts making a difference

May 3, 2013

Gifts making a difference--students and donors share what this generosity means to them.

May 3, 2013

Approximately 200 students, donors, faculty and staff gathered at the scholarship donor appreciation dinner last night for an evening full of humor, appreciation, generosity and even a few tears. Dean Michael Lairmore welcomed the group and thanked the support of individuals, corporations and associations for their gifts that help defray rising educational costs for future veterinarians and support special projects.

This year, the school awarded 710 awards amounting to $2 million—more than $200,000 more than last year. The scholarship program is enhanced by the school’s grant program, which provides another $2 million in financial support. More than 90 percent of our students receive scholarship or grant funding. 

“The school is deeply grateful for the generous support of our individual, association and corporate scholarship donors who make these new and continuing awards being presented today possible,” said Dean Lairmore in his opening remarks. “This investment in our future veterinary workforce will benefit animals, people, and the environment for decades to come.”

Sean Owens, the recently appointed Associate Dean for Student Programs, followed the dean’s introduction with the inspiring story of second year student Spencer Kehoe and his determination to pursue his studies after nearly losing eyesight in one eye as a result of an infection gained while conducting research in Africa. 

Dustin Noack, class of 2014, gave a moving account of what donor generosity has meant to him. He received the Westminster Kennel Club scholarship and a UC Regents scholarship in his first year—gifts that enabled him to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. He was one of four students this year to receive the Mary Silan Seawright Scholarship for third and fourth-year students interested in small animal medicine.

A mother’s love and encouragement led to Alison Pillsbury’s (’88) career as a veterinarian. She honored her mother by establishing the Frances Park Pillsbury Memorial Scholarships in 2000. Recipients are selected by class balloting on the basis of support for their classmates, compassion to animals, dedication to the practice of veterinary medicine and commitment to work while attending school. Pillsbury entertained the audience with accounts of her early love for all creatures—even snakes. 

Dean Lairmore wrapped up the evening by addressing the students in attendance. 

“When I see the promise that you bring to our school, with your energy, intellect and talents, I am confident for the future of veterinary medicine.  I hope you can look around you and see that you are supported by people who care about your success and value your contribution to the profession,” Lairmore said. “Remember what this support has meant to you as you advance to the next chapters of your lives.  And always pause to express gratitude for those around you.”

The Phi Zeta Honor Society co-sponsored the event.

You too can support veterinary education and the health of animals.


Trina Wood, communications, 530-752-5257,