Donation benefits WSU students through scholarship fund

Published on February 01, 2009
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A change in plans by a local humane society resulted in the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine receiving a sizable end-of-the-year gift.

The Moses Lake Grant County Humane Society donated $193,000 from proceeds of a land sale in early December to establish the Ethel Roberge Scholarship for veterinary students at WSU. Annual distributions will be used to award one or more scholarships. Preference will be given to veterinary students from Grant County, or if none exist, then eastern Washington.

The college's scholarship committee will determine who is awarded the $7,720 yearly scholarship; the first will be a partial scholarship to be awarded in April. In the past year, 270 WSU veterinary students received a scholarship.

The humane society, incorporated in 1976, cared for animals on an interim basis, using makeshift facilities for several years. In 1982, the group built an animal shelter, which it operated until 2007 when it handed over the facility to the Grant County Animal Outreach.

Roberge was dedicated to the humane care of animals. She died in 2002 and bequeathed part of her estate to the Moses Lake Grant County Humane Society. The money was used to buy real property that the society intended to use to build a new animal shelter. The group's plans changed, and the property was sold at a $193,000 profit.

A humane society board member first suggested the idea and others agreed because of its potential to live on in perpetuity and that the college's mission and goals fit with theirs, said Andrea Farmer, assistant director of development for the WSU Foundation, which oversees the new fund.