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Golden retriever owner ensures 'Peace of Mind'

Nearly $5 million in gifts help Purdue vet school care for animals

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A golden retriever named Daisy today (Wednesday, 9/25), became the poster pet for almost $5 million in gifts to Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine.

Daisy, of Carmel, Ind., will always have a home, thanks to the generosity of Jack Carter, her owner, who ensured peace of mind with a $1.5 million gift.

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The gift, like the others announced, also will support student scholarships and a range of programs, from helping pets see better to keeping horses healthy. The announcement was part of Discover Purdue Week (Sept. 23-27), an initiative to help Indiana learn more about the university.

"These gifts from friends of the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine – and in some cases past clients of the Small or Large Animal Hospitals – will allow Purdue to make a difference in the lives of animals and humans," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "This generosity will enhance research and learning at Purdue and benefit everyone."

The largest in the series of the five deferred gifts is from Carter, a client of Dr. James Albrecht, who is a graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine's first class in 1963. Carter earmarked $1.5 million to Peace of Mind, a Purdue program that places pets in a loving home when the pet is orphaned after an owner's death. Carter earlier had established a provision in his will of $100,000 for the Peace of Mind program.

"About eight years ago I brought my dog to Purdue for treatment, and I was very impressed with the care the veterinarians and their staff gave her, as well as their dedication," Carter said. "The idea for the Peace of Mind program is important for people who don't have anyone to take care of their animal."

Perpetual care programs, like Peace of Mind, are a national trend. Peace of Mind requires a provision in donors' wills of $25,000 per cat or dog to care for the animal and help fund programs at Purdue's veterinary school. For example, the remainder of the gift that is not used to provide for Daisy will be invested in programs that improve the care of animals.

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Dave and Vicki Grove are regular donors to Purdue, but their donation of $1.2 million to equine sciences was inspired by Vicki, who is passionate about horses.

"My husband and I each selected a charity to include in our wills," Vicki said. "My love for horses and my happiness with the treatment my horses received at the Purdue Large Animal Hospital made the decision easy for me."

Depending on the school's need when the Groves' gift becomes available, the funds could be invested in the Equine Sports Medicine Center, the equine ambulatory unit, research in equine diseases, the education of equine specialists or equine diagnostic and treatment services.

Dave is a former director at Eli Lilly and Co. in Lafayette, Ind. The Groves have contributed to a variety of Purdue-related programs that range from theater and art galleries, to Children and Horses As PartnerS, to the Large Animal Hospital and the Visual and Performing Arts Building campaign.

Thomas and Beverly Van Cise's gift of $910,000 will provide funds for veterinary scholarships. Their gift will help the school increase its financial aid for professional and post-professional veterinary education, which is the school's highest priority, said Alan Rebar, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

"A veterinary medical education is very expensive because of the specialized equipment and training necessary to educate tomorrow's veterinary professionals," Rebar said. "Our students graduate with educational debt that averages more than $50,000 per graduate. Because of the debt, veterinary students often forego graduate or specialty education. This is creating a shortage of veterinarians who we need to fill a growing number of employment opportunities in academics, industry and specialized veterinary practice."

The Van Cises, Purdue graduates who own and operate a veterinary clinic in Norco, Calif., want to ease the financial burden for Purdue students. Van Cise has had success with the Purdue graduates he has hired at his clinic, All Animals Exotic or Small, where he specializes in combining alternative and traditional medicine.

"We have met veterinarians from all the North American schools over the years, and even interviewed several for an associate's position," said Van Cise, who is certified in homeopathic medicine for animals, acupuncture and Reiki. "The common thread among most of the other schools was a lack of useful skills. Everyone seemed to have adequate book learning, but few possessed a useful level of surgical, medical or people skills. Purdue graduates have a more complete education than graduates from other colleges."

The school's veterinary eye research programs also will benefit from the $700,000 provision in the will of Willis Armstrong and his late wife, Mary Jane, former clients of the Purdue Small Animal Hospital. The Armstrongs, of Griffith, Ind., are responsible for starting the Dukie Scholarship Memorial Trust at Purdue. The trust is named for their Chinese pug dog, Duke of Munster, who died in 1971. Eventually the name of the fund changed to the Dukie Ming Ling Memorial Veterinary Loan Fund, to include their other dogs, Ming Toi's China Doll and Mai Ling China Miss.

Armstrong's interest in veterinary eye research comes from a disease called pigmentary keratitis, which results in blindness and particularly affects dogs with protruding eyes. Both Ming and Ling developed the disease and were referred to the Small Animal Hospital.

"In addition to that, Mrs. Armstrong suffered from macular degeneration, and we had been informed that dogs can have similar eye problems," Armstrong said. "If you can find a cure for the animal kingdom, you can certainly find something for the human race."

The $600,000 deferred gift from Dr. Ronald and Linda Kraft of Norristown, Pa., is designated to unrestricted funds. Ronald graduated from the Purdue Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in 1974, and his wife graduated the same year from the School of Education. When the Krafts' gift is available, it will be invested in the school’s greatest needs at that time.

The Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine offers the state's only DVM degree program. In addition, the school offers associate and bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology; graduate training at the master's, doctorate and post-doctorate levels; and residencies in a variety of clinical and diagnostic specialties.

Since the first DVM class graduated in 1963, the school has produced nearly 2,400 veterinarians who practice in all 50 states. The school also is home to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital that cares for and treats diseases of all domestic, wild and exotic animals. Also at the school is the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which performs diagnostic tests in support of Indiana veterinarians, livestock owners, wildlife biologists, regulatory officials and university scientists.

The school's research areas include paralysis intervention research, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, equine sports medicine, infectious disease, the human-animal bond and biomedical engineering.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Kevin Doerr, Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving, (765) 494-8216,

Alan Rebar, (765) 494-7608,

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Jean Stiles, a veterinary ophthalmologist and associate professor of veterinary clinical science, conducts an eye exam, while Pam Kirby, an ophthalmology technician, holds the patient. Eye programs at the School of Veterinary Medicine will benefit from Willis Armstrong's gift of $700,000. His gift is one of five pledged to the School of Veterinary Medicine. The series of gifts total nearly $5 million. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at


Laurent Couetil, an associate professor and veterinarian at Purdue University, looks at this horse's larynx through a scope while it runs on a treadmill. The test allows equine specialists to detect any potential stress or breathing problems with horses as they walk, trot or gallop. Donna Griffey, registered veterinary technician, and Jennifer Schlemmer, veterinary technology student, monitor the horse's blood pressure and take blood samples. Vicki and Dave Grove's gift of $1.2 million, which is one of the five gifts pledged to the School of Veterinary Medicine, will be invested in equine science at Purdue. (Purdue News Service Photo by David Umberger)

A publication-quality photograph is available at

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