Roy and Gretchen Jackson, owners of Barbaro, have donated $3 million to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine that will endow a chair in the name of Dr. Dean W. Richardson.
Winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby, Barbaro sustained a hind limb fracture during the Preakness Stakes last May. Dr. Richardson, chief of surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital, repaired Barbaro's fractured limb. Beset by a series of complications primarily related to laminitis, Barbaro was euthanized in January.
"Gretchen and Roy Jackson have already done so much for veterinary medicine through their commitment to giving Barbaro every possible opportunity to recover from his catastrophic injuries," Penn President Amy Gutmann said. "Now, with this generous gift, Gretchen and Roy Jackson not only promote continued progress, but they pay tribute to the doctor who, like them, gave his heart to a magnificent horse."
Dr. Joan C. Hendricks, dean of the veterinary school, said, "This endowed chair is a strong recognition of the power of translating fundamental scientific advances into new real-world treatments. With a new faculty position dedicated to the study of equine disease, we will be better positioned to fight deadly conditions like laminitis."
The endowed chair is the cornerstone of the veterinary school's new initiative to fight laminitis. The initiative will foster training programs and studies for new treatments of equine diseases.
"We are very pleased to make this commitment in support of the School of Veterinary Medicine's research of equine diseases," Gretchen Jackson said. "Our close relationship with Dr. Richardson over the last eight months persuaded us to name the chair in his honor. We are indeed grateful to him, and we especially look forward to a future without laminitis."
Both Penn graduates, Roy and Gretchen Jackson have been dedicated supporters of the university's athletic, medicine, and veterinary programs for many years. In addition, Gretchen Jackson serves on the Penn Vet Board of Overseers.
"I am deeply honored by this generous and important gift," Dr. Richardson said. "The Jacksons' remarkable philanthropy will translate into better outcomes for injured and ill horses in the future."