News & Events

New Scholarships from Students and Alumni Support Future Colleagues

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May 11, 2010

Dean Bennie Osburn welcomed more than 50 special guests and announced 13 new awards in the School of Veterinary Medicine scholarship program at the annual awards ceremony May 11.

"I am pleased to announce that our 2010 scholarship program includes 13 new awards. This support, along with funding from annual gifts and endowments, brings our total annual scholarships to more than $1.7 million," he said. Osburn expressed gratitude to the donors, saying that students depend on scholarship support more than ever due to the impacts of a struggling economy. He added that these funds make it possible for UC Davis students to graduate with significantly less debt than the national average.

Building on a generous spirit

Some new scholarships this year came in the form of endowments that provide ongoing support. These endowments may have begun as a one-time donation, a generous urge built into repeat gifts and finally  a commitment to provide support in perpetuity. The Auxiliary to the California Veterinary Medical Association endowment comes as a culmination of the Auxiliary’s 58 years of annual grant-in-aid awards to our students. The organization began its award program in 1952 with three $200 grants and awarded over $110,000 total grants to junior and senior veterinary students. The endowment will allow the school to award $4,500 in scholarship funds each year.

A trend has also emerged among DVM alumni. The classes of 1959, 1969 and 1984 have all established scholarships this year, each based on the endowment model. Mary Whitehill, class of 1984, states, "At our class reunion dinner, we talked about a gift to the school and decided that it should be a scholarship in honor of all the families that supported us and in memory of classmates who have passed away." Whitehill, a Napa small animal veterinarian, was joined by classmates Penelope Collins--who also represented the Bay Area Association of Multicultural Veterinarians--and Paul Sessa of Salida Veterinary Hospital. Sessa explained, "One of our classmates stepped forward with a gift of $10,000, and he challenged us to match it. We ended up with a $25,000 endowment." Together, the class representatives met the first recipient, Jenevieve Crawford.

Following the lead of other student groups, the Holistic Medicine Club and the Wildlife and Aquatic Medicine Club are sponsoring new scholarships this year. 

The right career path

Specific scholarships help students find the way to the right career path for themselves, Dean Osburn added. "These funds also make it possible for our students to gain research experience, explore new opportunities in the profession and support their externship experiences." As just one example of an award linked to a specific veterinary sector, the Charles and Edna Stornetta Scholarship, established in tribute to the Stornettas' contributions to California's dairy industry, goes to a student with an interest in dairy practice. Joan Pedrelli and Debbie Skillings, the daughter and granddaughter, respectively, of the Stornettas, were on hand to deliver the scholarship to Gina Pedersen.

Scholarships include memorial and tribute scholarships, awards from associations, clubs (including student clubs) and corporations. A new award in this category is the Molly/Diva Memorial Scholarship, established by Dr. Kelly Byam and Scott and Mary Landcastle in memory of their beloved dachshunds. Awards for clinical proficiency are given in nearly every veterinary specialty to fourth-year students.

Student scholars receive awards for academic achievement, research excellence and scientific accomplishments.  This summer, the school and other agencies will fund 33 veterinary students in the Students Training in Advanced Research Program, or STAR. Fellowships for the Veterinary Scientist Training Program support DVM students who are also pursuing PhD degrees and have the potential to become future leaders in academic veterinary medicine.