The school held its annual Evening of Gratitude dinner last night, a special occasion that brings together scholarship donors and student recipients to celebrate the power of philanthropy. Students received $6.7 million in total support from scholarships and grants this year, thanks to the generosity of individual, association and corporate donors who make these new and continuing awards possible.
“We are deeply grateful for these valued partnerships that help us achieve the heart of our mission—educating the next generation of veterinarians, research scientists and veterinary specialists,” said Dean Michael Lairmore in his opening remarks.
A few examples of new investments in students include:
• The Bugsy Award and the Fitz Family Award, created by Patrick Fitz and Jocelyn Parker.
• The Charles and Emily Miller Award, created by a father-daughter team of veterinarians at the Scotts Valley Veterinary Clinic.
• Dr. Kathryn Lowell Jones Endowed Scholarship, created by the estate of long-time client and friend, Yvonne LeMaitre to a student who has experience with horses and/or food animals. Ms. LeMaitre also created the Willow Oak Farm Scholarship for a student who has experience with horses, farm and zoo animals.
• Dr. Laurel Gershwin Community Service Award for a student involved with the Mercer Animal Clinic, Knights Landing Clinic, or other community service. Established by Dr. Kristina Netherwood in honor of faculty member, Dr. Gershwin.
• Dr. John T. Gus Scholarship, awarded to a veterinary student who has an interest in small animal medicine or surgery, has demonstrated leadership and professionalism, and is a 3rd or 4th year student. Whenever possible, preferential consideration will be given to US military veterans. This transformational gift was inspired by the spirit and generosity of Dr. John T. Gus's mentor, Dr. Raymond Weitkamp.
• Mills Equine Sports Medicine Award, created by Dr. Jillian Mills for a student in good standing who has demonstrated interest in equine sports medicine.
• Neda K. Othman Award, created for a student who has spent at least two years as an undergraduate at a community college and transferred to a university to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Established in 2017 by Neda K. Othman, currently a student in the class of 2020. She created the award because she is grateful for the support she received as a community college, university and veterinary student and wants to help students who have taken a similar path.
• Patrick H. Mills Memorial Entrepreneur Scholarship, for a student who is in good standing in his or her third or fourth year who demonstrates business or entrepreneurship acumen.
• Petsmart Charities Award, for a student who is interested in pursuing a career in shelter medicine, has demonstrated previous exposure to shelter medicine or volunteerism, is a 2nd or 3rd year student in good academic standing and has financial need.
• Barry S. Kipperman Award in Veterinary Ethics, created by a former resident and current guest lecturer in Ethics. Dr. Kipperman received a scholarship in vet school and appreciated the value in both helping him make ends meet, and in building his self-esteem. This scholarship serves to recognize UC Davis’ commitment to veterinary ethics, his appreciation for having the opportunity to teach the course, and to honor a student that has demonstrated a strong interest and aptitude in veterinary ethics.
After viewing a brief video of students expressing their appreciation for philanthropic support and how it has impacted them, Dean Lairmore turned the podium over to Mike Baker, who has attended the scholarship events for many years as a family representative for his siblings, Christopher, Erin and Robert and for his parents, Ann and Dr. Robert Baker. The Robert H. Baker Scholarship was created in his father’s memory by his family and friends, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Dr. Baker was a graduate of the class of 1954, where he met his wife Ann. Dr. Baker was honored with the school’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1997.
Christian Munevar, Class of 2018, served as the student speaker for the evening. During his gap year between undergrad at UC Berkeley and his admission to veterinary school, Munevar worked as a veterinary technician. He found working with companion animals and their owners rewarding and has enjoyed supporting the human-animal bond during outreach with the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for Pets of the Homeless, and as co-president of the student chapter of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. His goal is to pursue a board certification specialty then return to Southern California to practice.
Munevar focused his remarks on the indebtedness he feels to those who have supported him on his journey to where he is today. Even in the midst of family economic crisis in his sophomore year, his family continued to invest in his education.
“I’d never be here without their support,” Munevar said. “That means everything to me.”
He talked about everyone having different types of donors in their lives and encouraged those gathered to use that sense of indebtedness to drive them to be better.
“We should all be glad to owe something to someone—it means we’ve been given so much” he said. “You can repay that by succeeding, by being there for classmates and colleagues, and one day, by being in those donors’ seats, giving to someone like you.”