Veterinary colleges receive millions for scholarship funds

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One solution to the educational debt crisis that’s been suggested is awarding more scholarships to veterinary students (see JAVMA, June 15, 2016). Both Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine have received the good news that they will be awarded millions to establish more of these programs to benefit students.

At Auburn, an estate gift from Dr. H.B. “Woody” Bartlett (Auburn ’64) will establish the Bartlett Scholars Program at the veterinary college, providing scholarships for veterinary and graduate students on the basis of financial need and academic merit.

The Haywood Bellingrath Bartlett Educational Endowment will support, in perpetuity, the program to recruit and educate students with a demonstrated interest in large animal medicine, surgery, and theriogenology. The endowment will be established at $10 million and will be expanded by up to fourfold as other components of the estate are settled.

Dr. H.B. “Woody” Bartlett recently established the Bartlett Scholars Program at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Bartlett Ranch, comprising three properties located in Alabama, Texas, and Wyoming, totals nearly 90,000 acres. His original Flying “B” Ranch just outside Montgomery, Alabama, was established in 1954 and remains the headquarters of his tri-state operation. For more than 20 years, veterinary students have learned from Dr. Bartlett about equine medicine and surgery through field experiences on his ranch. (Courtesy of Auburn University CVM)

“Auburn did a lot for me as far as helping me get ready for the type of career I wanted to have,” he said in an Aug. 2 press release from the college. “And, I know there are a lot of young people coming along in the future who will want to do the kinds of things I’ve done with cattle and horses. I hope the scholarship fund will give them a chance to focus on their studies and prepare themselves to do their best as veterinarians.”

The first round of scholarships is expected to be awarded to three first-year students: two out-of-state students and one in-state student. The program will grow by three scholarships each year, to total 12 in four years. When fully implemented, the program will award up to 48 scholarships each year. Full scholarships will be awarded to residents of Alabama or students enrolled from partner states, such as Kentucky, under the Southern Regional Education Board contract, which assists nonresident students from participating states where no public veterinary schools exist. Other out-of-state students would receive scholarships for the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition.

Dean Calvin Johnson said, “Dr. Bartlett’s transformational gift will directly address student debt load and place (students) in a financial position to succeed as practitioners in underserved rural regions of the country.”

Scholarships will be awarded to first-year students and renewed annually, dependent on academic performance, for the remainder of the four years. A similar structure will be applied to residents pursuing specialty training in large animal disciplines.

At Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Charles E. and Viola G. Bardsley Estate gave $7.2 million to endow a scholarship program for students. The estate gift nearly doubles the veterinary college’s overall endowment, according to an Oct. 4 press release.

Scholarships will be awarded on GPA, merit, and focus areas. Dean Kent H. Hoblet will determine the number of and amount for each scholarship in the near future.

The Bardsleys were longtime animal lovers and veterinary education advocates. The late Charles Bardsley earned master’s and doctoral degrees from MSU in 1950 and 1959, respectively, and had a distinguished career in the development of pesticides and related work with the Department of Agriculture. Viola taught chemistry at the college level and was a senior chemist and technical associate with Mallinckrodt Chemical Co.

They began supporting Mississippi State in 1996 with the creation of an annual academic scholarship for the veterinary college, awarded to the fourth-year student with the highest GPA. Before their deaths, the Bardsleys established 24 gift annuities that benefited students and the university. Charles died in 2003, and after Viola’s death in 2015, the remainder from the annuities and a bequest through her will created the Charles E. and Viola G. Bardsley Endowed Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine.

“Because of the way the Bardsleys’ bequest was structured, CVM has more than $7 million in a new endowment,” said Jimmy Kight, the veterinary college’s director of development, in the release. “The earnings from the endowment will result in significant yearly support of our students.”