After spending some time living in Athens when she was young, Dawn Lisenby fell in love with the city, and was ecstatic when her brother, Jack, decided to attend the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Jack tragically passed away as a student, and the effect of his loss was felt heavily throughout the College. To pay tribute, the students and faculty planted a tree and placed a plaque at the CVM in his honor, and, upon their graduation, the class of 1999 added a bench to show their love for their classmate.
Dawn was so moved by the gesture that she decided that she wanted to give back to the College as a thank you for honoring her brother in such a significant way. Because Jack loved to run with his rescue Dalmatian, Pops, Dawn was inspired to begin her journey to become a competitive ultradistance runner. In 2008 she began a trail race in his memory. The Jacks Trail Race was created with the purpose of raising money to establish a memorial scholarship, which has since helped countless students in need. This year, the Jacks Trail Race is scheduled to take place on October 22, 2023 in Palm Coast, FL.
Dawn explains, “My inspiration is threefold: my brother’s legacy at the College he loved, helping students in need who are passionate about caring for animals pursue their dream, and giving back to the College for its great tribute to my brother. I hope that my support will enable students, like my brother, who without financial assistance, would not be able to pursue their passion of caring for animals. I regularly travel to Athens to visit my brother’s tree and memorial plaque at the College, and I am so grateful that it’s there. The generosity of the faculty and class all those years ago began a relationship that continues to give back to both the College, its students, and our family.”