Your Gifts Tell the Story
Behind every gift to WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine is a story. The
detection of a new disease helps save lives. A scholarship makes veterinary or
graduate school more affordable. A beloved animal's life is saved from cancer.
From everyone at the college, you have our sincere gratitude for your generous
Gifts in Action 2012
Giving Back Just a Little Makes a Big Difference in a Student's Life
(left to right) Charlie (3), Laurel,
Hank (5), Billy, and Ike (6 months).
As a non-traditional student with a wife and three kids to support, Billy
Hansen ('14 DVM) has a lot on his plate. Because of the skyrocketing costs
of a veterinary education, Billy, like so many of his classmates, relies almost
entirely on student loans to pay for school. So when he received the $750 Dr.
Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back" Scholarship it meant a lot.
"It was a small amount compared to my student loans, but it made the burden of
the semester lighter," said Hansen. "I didn't have to worry so much about
finances and that helped me concentrate on school and my studies."
Before coming to WSU in 2010, Billy, who is originally from rural Utah, attended
the University of Utah as a business major after serving a mission in Brazil.
But during his last year he decided it was veterinary medicine, not business,
that was his calling. He and his wife moved to Logan and he finished a
bio-veterinary sciences degree at Utah State.
During Billy's first year as a WSU veterinary student he met Aaron Gibbons ('11
DVM), then in his fourth year of veterinary school and also a non-traditional
"We had a lot in common," said Hansen. So it felt like a bit of kismet
when he was awarded the Dr. Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back"
"It was really thoughtful the Gibbons provided this scholarship," said Hansen.
"I am grateful that I got it."
Aaron Gibbons and his
After he graduates in 2014, Billy and his family plan to move back to Utah where
he hopes to find a position at a mixed-animal, private practice. Ultimately, he
has even bigger career aspirations.
"My goal is to one day buy into my own practice," he said.
Gibbons ('11 DVM and SAVMA president 2011) and his family know first-hand how
expensive it is to earn a veterinary degree. Tuition since 1996 has nearly
tripled and in-state students now pay more than $22,000 a year. Just one
year after he graduated, Aaron and his wife Laura gave $750 to establish the Dr.
Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back" Scholarship to help a current
student. Student scholarships can help defray some of the costs of education
putting our students in a more competitive position as they start their careers.
Help Purchase a Needed Ophthalmology Table
Dr. Terri Alessio, WSU veterinary
ophthalmology specialist (right),
with Marie Crossley, LVT (left),
Small gifts can add up to make a big
difference. In 2009, Dr. Terri Alessio,
WSU veterinary ophthalmology specialist,
received a new height-adjustable
examination table that has helped
hundreds of her patients that she can
now easily bring to eye level.
"It really helps for patient
comfort," said Dr. Alessio. "We can
adjust the table to where the animal
feels most comfortable."
Before the ophthalmology group
received the height-adjustable table,
geriatric patients had to be lifted onto
the table. Now the table can be lowered
so that older patients can step on and
then it is raised to just the right
height. It can also be raised for
smaller dogs and cats or lowered for big
"If a large dog feels like standing,
the table can be lowered rather than
asking the dog to lie down," said Dr.
Donations from many friends of the college made this purchase possible.
"When people make general donations
to the college, we put the money in a
fund that can be used for just these
types of needs," said Lynne Haley,
director of development for the college.
"People sometimes think a small gift
doesn't do much, but those gifts add up
and can have a big impact."
When she can, Dr. Alessio takes the
height-adjustable table to the surgery
room with her. But she hopes to someday
have a second table.
"Our patients are more comfortable
and relaxed," said Dr. Alessio. "It has
made an incredible difference."
is currently a Ph.D student in
microbiology at Duke University
Pat Youngman, '43
BS in Bacteriology & Public Health
A Gift to Last
Every year for 6 years, Pat Youngman ('43 BS in Bacteriology and Public Health)
did something that has helped hundreds of WSU students. She provided enough
support for the now School of Molecular Biosciences to purchase one Leica
microscope each year.
"The microscopes made all the things we read in text books or hear in lecture
become real," said Katherine Rempe ('10 Microbiology), who is currently a Ph.D
student in molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University. "We could see
how bacteria move and behave differently."
Originally, Katherine thought she'd pursue a degree in pharmacy, but she fell in
love with microbiology.
"I enjoy research because of the problem solving involved and the fact that you
never do exactly the same thing two days in a row," said Rempe. As a Ph.D.
student she studies a bacterium (Haemophilus influenzae) that is a
leading cause of ear infections in children.
"Washington State University provided me many opportunities that have shaped who
I am now," said Rempe. "I was able to be involved in research, which opened up a
new career for me."
Pat Youngman's microscopes have made a difference for countless students like
Katherine in classes such as Introductory Microbiology, General Microbiology
Laboratory, Diagnostic Bacteriology Laboratory, and Combined Immunology and
Virology Laboratory. The microscopes are also used for pre-college outreach
activities like WSU Cougar Quest.
Pat Youngman passed away in 2010. Although most students will never realize how
much they benefitted from her generosity, her legacy lives on in the lives she
(center) Dr. Kevin Choy working
with one of the cancer patients
in the pilot study.
WSU Oncology Resident Awarded
the Paul and Lynnea Thibodaux Oncology Resident
Research Fund in Veterinary Medicine
While working in a
private clinic in
veterinarian Dr. Kevin
Choy of Vancouver,
British Columbia, saw a
lot of elderly patients
and he noticed
veterinary medicine was
capable of managing many
cancer was not one of
"We are getting better
at managing other
chronic diseases in
animals such as heart
disease and diabetes
that would normally have
been associated with a
grave prognosis, but
cancer is one of the few
medical fields that we
are learning more about
every day" said Dr.
Choy, an oncology
resident at WSU's
So he decided to learn
more about cancer
treatment and left
private practice to
training and devote his
career to helping animal
patients with the hope
that some of the
knowledge could be
useful for human
With such a commitment
to cancer care and
research, it was little
surprise that Dr. Choy
received this year's
Paul and Lynnea
Resident Research Fund
in Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Choy plans to use
the awarded funds to
treat more patients in a
pilot study between WSU
and the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center
"The awarded money will
allow us to enroll more
patients in the study,"
explained Dr. Choy. And
that could help save
lives by generating more
consistent and reliable
data. Past studies that
have grown and tested
cancer cells in a
laboratory have not
always provided useful,
consistent result for
In the pilot study, Dr.
Choy and his fellow
researchers are looking
at lymphoma in dogs to
see what types of
chemotherapy are the
most successful in
killing cancer cells in
Lymphoma is currently
the most commonly
diagnosed immune cancer
often affecting breeds
such as Golden
Retrievers, Boxers, and
German Shepherds. The
goal of the study is to
one day develop a method
that will individualize
with greater success and
fewer side effects.
"If cells are dying,
then we know a
particular drug is
working," said Dr.
Choy. "We hope to
develop a method to
allow veterinarians to
better select the
appropriate therapy that
minimizes side effects
and is effective so that
we do not needlessly
medications to patients
Though the research
conducted at WSU will be
piloted in animals
first, the hope is that
the results may lead to
better treatments for
resistant tumors in
humans as well.
"We all know pets and
people that have been
touched by cancer," said
Dr. Choy. "I want to
help animals and
ultimately contribute to
treatment in people as
Paul and Lynnea
the Paul and Lynnea
Resident Research Fund
in Veterinary Medicine
to give deserving
students a chance for a
great education that
would give them a
successful career in
veterinary medicine. The
Thibodauxes came to WSU
in 2006 when their blue
Shepherd named Doc
(a.k.a. Dr. Schnaut von
diagnosed with a brain
tumor at age 5. After 18
the meningioma went into
remission, but four
years later the tumor
returned. Doc was
brought back to WSU for
radiation treatment. The
Thibodauxes said WSU was
wonderful to Doc and the
to follow up on his
status. They are forever
grateful for the
additional time WSU gave
them with Doc.