March 01, 2018

 

 Alumnus's $50M gift to benefit Oregon State

Posted Feb. 14, 2018

Oregon State University announced Jan. 17 a sizable commitment from a donor to its College of Veterinary Medicine that will dramatically increase its ability to provide lifesaving clinical care, professional education for future veterinarians, and research critical to animal and human health.

The $50 million gift is the largest the university has ever received, according to an Oregon State press release. The university has already renamed its veterinary college in recognition. 

Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine students care for a patient at OSU's veterinary teaching hospital. A small portion of Gary R. Carlson's $50 million gift will enable the near-term doubling of the size of the hospital. (Photo by Nick Kelsh/Oregon State University)

The Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine honors the Portland, Oregon, native and 1974 OSU undergraduate alumnus who has had a distinguished career as a physician and partner in Dermatology Associates of Westlake Village, California. Gary Carlson earned his medical degree from what is now Oregon Health & Science University in 1978.

The Carlson College becomes the first named college at Oregon State and only the second named veterinary college in the nation after Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Carlson, who owns several dogs, wanted to do something that would greatly benefit animals, said Dr. Susan Tornquist, dean of the veterinary college.

"We're really excited about this degree of visibility. We're a small program and relatively newer. The fact that Dr. Carlson has enough confidence and trust in us to use this money for the benefit of animals is humbling and touching. We're excited to be the ones to use that for great things," she told JAVMA News.

A small portion of Dr. Carlson's gift will enable the near-term doubling of the size of the OSU Small Animal Hospital. Plans are to build two new hospital wings, one of which will house a linear accelerator for radiation oncology. The groundbreaking is scheduled for June 14, and the expansion is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

The additional space and expanded services in the teaching hospital will provide veterinary students with training in emerging treatment procedures in oncology and other specialties, Dr. Tornquist said. The veterinary college increased its class size from 56 to 72 students this past fall.

The balance of the donation will come in the form of a bequest at the time of his death. The money will establish an endowed fund to attract and retain veterinary faculty as well as support veterinary college strategic priorities.

"We're able to make plans long term and not be as dependent on state funding, as we know that is unlikely to increase over the next 10 to 15 years," Dr. Tornquist said. "It gives us confidence to go ahead and add specialities, new programs, and diagnostic equipment."