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April 01, 2021

Idexx contributes $3.6M to Tuskegee veterinary college

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The Idexx Foundation, a donor-advised fund from Idexx Laboratories Inc., intends to gift $3.6 million over six years to Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in Tuskegee, Alabama.

The initiative is designed to promote diversity in the veterinary field and includes nine four-year scholarships in 2021. Tuskegee is the only historically Black university with a veterinary college in the U.S. and has, according to the college, educated more than 70% of the nation’s Black veterinarians.

Dr. Linn instructs Tuskegee vet students
Tuskegee University veterinary students in a junior surgery class are instructed by Dr. Lorraine Linn (second from left), associate professor of small animal surgery. (Courtesy of Tuskegee University)

Tuition and fees for a first-year, in-state student at the veterinary college are about $44,000, according to public data from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Nearly a quarter of first-year students received scholarships during the last academic year, according to the AAVMC’s Cost Comparison Tool, and overall, 40.7% of students received a scholarship that year. However, the average scholarship amount was only $1,326 for first-year students. Meanwhile, 100% of Tuskegee’s veterinary students had debt, with mean debt totaling $82,966.

The foundation’s donation will also provide funding for mental health support for veterinary students, capital improvements to facilities, and emergency funding for students in need.

“This is the most impactful contribution that our beloved college has received in our 75 years of existence and recognizes our legacy of work training and educating students of color,” said Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the veterinary college, in a press release.

According to AAVMC public data, nearly 77% of the student population at the veterinary college identifies as coming from groups underrepresented in veterinary medicine.

Jay Mazelsky, Idexx president and CEO, said in the press release: “The past 10 years have seen tremendous growth in the diversity of the pet-owning population. Ensuring all pets have access to the highest standard of care in their communities starts with advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in veterinary medicine.”

The veterinary college has received multiple donations in the past year. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation and Hill’s Pet Nutrition announced a scholarship program with an endowment of $45,000 from Hill’s last September. Zoetis and American Humane also donated an inaugural grant of $40,000 to support students of color at the veterinary college in November. Mars Veterinary Health, which encompasses Banfield, VCA, and BluePearl animal hospitals, and Mars Inc.-owned Royal Canin pledged to donate at least $125,000 in student financial aid to the Tuskegee veterinary college this past September as well.