New College of Veterinary Medicine scholarship fund to promote service

The scholarships will cover 50 percent of recipients’ tuition and fees each year.

Barbara Stampfli-Savill and Gary Savill speak at a news conference on Monday, March. 3 at the Reynolds Alumni Center, in Columbia. The couple recently made an estate commitment of $2.5 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The College of Veterinary Medicine received a $2.5-million gift to fund scholarships for veterinary students Monday.

The gift, given by Gary Savill and Barbara Stampfli-Savill, will create an endowment to provide one or more scholarships that will cover 50 percent of recipients’ tuition and fees each year. To qualify, students must demonstrate financial need, and preference will be shown to those in underrepresented ethnic groups.

The endowment will not only support students financially, but it will also encourage volunteer work.

The Savills set a requirement of recipients to perform 120 hours of animal-related community and volunteer service each year, said Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

In addition to their financial gift, the Savills will also donate a custom-built motorcycle to the college’s annual Gentle Doctor Benefit raffle April 4. Similar to the fund, the raffle has the purpose of raising funds for student scholarships.

Gary Savill said the couple’s choice to donate a gift to the veterinary school was because they wanted to give back to a worthy cause.

“What drove and attracted us to here was the personal relationship that was fostered,” he said.

Although the St. Louis couple has no MU affiliation, the Savills said they were inspired to give their gift after reading about the philanthropy of other donors such as Cottrell and Kay Fox, who donated $5 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine last year.

The Fox’s grant funded research to test a drug for bone cancer in dogs. Results from this research ultimately helped Kay Fox’s father, who was affected by a similar cancer.

Barbara Stampfli-Savill said she was touched by the donation story.

Olson said MU is one of only 20 universities to have a college of veterinary medicine and its responsibility to educate future veterinarians is a priority.

“We are not just educating veterinarians in the context of diagnosis and treatment and prognosis,” he said. “We are molding them as citizens. (Our graduates) have the capacity to help change the world.”

With the stipulation that students must do animal-related community service, Olson said the Savills are advancing the college’s service mission in creating veterinarian leaders.

The college’s scholarship committee typically allocates about $125,000 per year in scholarship money. It is currently unknown how many scholarships the Savill gift will fund, Olson said.

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