Home » News »

WCVM receives $1.07-million gift

L. David Dubé and Heather Ryan accept a limited edition print entitled, "To the Field" by Jan Walker-Roenisch from U of S President Peter MacKinnon and WCVM Dean Dr. Charles Rhodes.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan has received $1.07 million for its equine and companion animal health programs and a fund raising incentive from Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé through their charitable foundation.

At the donors’ request, WCVM will direct $750,000 of the $1.07-million gift over the next five years to support major, collaborative research projects that target critical issues in horse health.

As well, the veterinary college’s Equine Health Research Fund and Companion Animal Health Fund will receive $125,000 each to boost their annual research grant programs. The college will also allocate $70,000 of the donation to establish two new scholarships for undergraduate veterinary students who have demonstrated an interest in equine or companion animal health care.

In addition, Ryan and Dubé have pledged to “match” any new money contributed to the fund that they created for large-scale equine health research projects at WCVM or any increased amounts in contributions to the Equine Health Research Fund during the next five years.

The donors will annually contribute up to $100,000 in matching funds — an exciting challenge that provides the college with the opportunity to potentially raise an additional $1 million for its equine health research programs by 2011.

“Our horses and pets are a hugely positive part of our lives, and through them, we’ve met some exceptionally compassionate, dedicated people at WCVM,” says L. David Dubé, a 1985 alumnus of the U of S.

“Our belief is that if we fund world-class research right here in Western Canada, we will help to retain and attract some of the most innovative minds in veterinary medicine. Plus, we want our donations to work as leveraging tools for attracting additional funds from other organizations and individuals, and for establishing collaborative relationships with other scientists and research institutions.”

Dubé and his wife, Heather Ryan, established their own charitable foundation to support organizations that reflect their interests and passions — including horses and companion animals.

The Saskatoon couple presented their gift to U of S President Peter MacKinnon and to WCVM Dean Dr. Charles Rhodes during a special celebration on August 27 at Willow Ridge Stables near Saskatoon, Sask. The presentation followed a polo match organized by Dubé, Ryan and other members of the Saskatoon Polo Club.

“In four decades, WCVM’s research and education programs have heightened the quality of health care that’s available to horses and pets around the world,” says MacKinnon. “Now, this extraordinary gift gives the college the power to reach even further: to address urgent problems in equine and companion animal health, to collaborate with other research teams, to expand Western Canada’s network of veterinary specialists, and to emphasize compassionate care and patient advocacy in veterinary education.”

The new funding will nearly double the college’s annual equine health research dollars for the next five years and significantly increase its companion animal health research grants during the same period, adds Rhodes.

“Having such a significant commitment in place will allow our researchers to make real progress in developing better ways to diagnose and treat diseases in horses and pets. At the same time, our college is undergoing a $57-million expansion that will provide our researchers with upgraded facilities and the most advanced technologies so they can continue to conduct cutting-edge research.”

Besides motivating researchers and students, Ryan and Dubé want their gifts to inspire others who are involved with horses: “We’re challenging every equine sport or breed organization to dedicate one tournament, match or show as an annual fund raiser for equine research at veterinary institutions across North America — including WCVM,” explains Ryan, an amateur polo player.

“Our hope is that groups in different disciplines will take on this initiative because we want this to be a starting point, not an endpoint. Let’s see what we can do when we work together for our horses.”

Comments are closed.