Gifts will give more students access to a veterinary education
Philanthropic gifts of more than $21.3 million given to the College of Veterinary Medicine in fiscal year 2023 make it the largest fundraising year on record. The CVM also helped contribute to a record year of $242.8 million in private donations received by UGA, the second-highest fundraising total in the university’s history.
From July 2022 to June 2023, more than 2,725 generous donors gave to the college, supporting all areas from scholarships to research and faculty positions. Some successes this year include the creation of four new endowed faculty positions and 21 new endowed scholarships, which will help alleviate financial barriers for students at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
“UGA Vet Med now ranks first in research expenditures, third in faculty, sixth in DVM class size, and seventh overall among vet schools nationwide,” said Dr. Lisa K. Nolan, Dean and Georgia Athletics Association Distinguished Professor. “Our work simply would not be possible without the generous support of our donors.”
According to a study commissioned by Mars Veterinary Health, nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet companion animal healthcare needs by 2030. Even with the number of new veterinary graduates expected in the next 10 years, the nation will still be short 15,000 veterinarians, the study found.
UGA CVM is working to address this need in part by removing financial barriers for the next generation of practitioners, researchers, and faculty. In the fall of 2023, the school will award more than $1 million in private scholarship support to students across the college, helping approximately 30 percent of the student body.
The Verdin Hopewell Scholarship fund established by the family of UGA graduates Byron and Eloise Verdin will ensure that finances are no barrier to education.
“Byron and Eloise Verdin both came to UGA in the early ’60s from hard-working rural families. They valued the benefits of and were willing to sacrifice for an excellent education for their children,” said Andrew Verdin, DVM. “We, the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren, still enjoy the benefits of that education received decades ago and we want to pass the blessing forward.”
Members of the Class of 1978 gave to establish an emergency fund that can be tapped by students experiencing financial emergencies with the potential to derail their enrollment. Dr. Jim Woods, a 1971 CVM graduate and proud member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and his wife Carol were moved to establish a scholarship out of concern over declining numbers of equine practitioners and the student debt crisis.
Dr. Tom Fansher, a 1981 graduate of CVM, has prioritized giving since graduating to “support and encourage future veterinarians.”
“I know that the College gave me the tools, knowledge, and encouragement to successfully run two veterinary clinics for 37 years,” Fansher said. By giving, Fansher said he and his wife, Janet, hope the students who benefit from their donations will also feel led to give so that others may receive the same opportunities.
Cheryl Devaney learned the value of education from her parents. She established the Dr. Wayne and Mary Linn Crowell Scholarship in their memory to share that lesson with others.
“My father was a veterinarian and taught at UGA. My mother received a master’s degree from UGA, and she was the Clarke County school food nutritionist. Both my parents helped young people work to be educated and meet their dreams. We wanted their legacy to be continued through supporting education. Education can never be taken away from someone and can open their eyes to new things,” Devaney said.