Oregon State University has received a transformative commitment from a donor to its College of Veterinary Medicine that will dramatically increase the college’s ability to provide life-saving clinical care, professional education for future veterinarians, and research critical to animal and human health.
The $50 million gift is the largest the university has ever received. The university will name its college of veterinary medicine in recognition of the donor who made the historic gift.
The Gary R. Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine will honor a Portland native and 1974 OSU alumnus who has had a distinguished career as a physician and partner in Dermatology Associates of Westlake Village, Calif. The Carlson College becomes the first named college at Oregon State.
Carlson’s gift will enable doubling the size of the OSU Small Animal Hospital. It also will establish an endowed fund to attract and retain top-tier veterinary faculty and support college strategic priorities.
“This is a game-changing investment in our college,” said Susan J. Tornquist, Lois Bates Acheson Dean.
“We are very honored and excited about Dr. Carlson’s partnership. The hospital expansion is a pressing need for us now, but this is just the beginning of what Dr. Carlson’s generosity will make possible as the college adapts and grows to meet the needs of future generations.”
In each of the last six years, the number of small animal patients at the hospital has increased an average of 10 percent. Plans are being formulated to build two new hospital wings, one of which will house a linear accelerator for radiation oncology. Adding this new service to the hospital’s existing chemotherapy services means OSU will be able to provide comprehensive cancer care to patients in one location for the first time. Many owners must currently travel out of state for access to advanced cancer care for their animals.
The additional space and expanded services in the teaching hospital will provide veterinary students with training in emerging treatment procedures in such areas as oncology and neurology.
Oregon State’s Small Animal Teaching Hospital has treated more than 20,000 animals, primarily cats and dogs, since its opening in 2006. Many of these patients are referred to OSU from veterinarians throughout Oregon, northern California and western Washington.
“The College of Veterinary Medicine is a vital way that OSU lives out its mission of service,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “Thousands of people who have no other connection to this university seek help from our veterinary hospital.”
“Dr. Carlson’s generosity will enhance the care we provide to animals and ensure that graduating veterinarians are familiar with the most current medical technology. That will benefit countless people and the animals that many consider members of the family.”
The donor was inspired by his own love of dogs to make the investment.
“As I began thinking about how I might make a difference in this world, I thought about those things that matter most to me,” Carlson said. “High on the list was the joy that our pets so often give us – a special comfort and support that allows us to embrace life more fully. I wanted to do something that would enrich that experience and help us better understand and care for our ‘best friends.’”
Carlson saw the opportunity to make a large impact at Oregon State, he said. “I am honored to be a partner in building a remarkable future for the College of Veterinary Medicine and those it serves, human and otherwise.”
OSU Foundation CEO and President Mike Goodwin noted the momentum Carlson’s commitment brings to the university. “This remarkable gift comes less than a year after we announced a $25 million investment in a new arts complex,” Goodwin said. “Visionary donors are finding that at OSU they can have an enormous impact in the areas they are most passionate about, making life better in our region and around the world.”
The College of Veterinary Medicine at OSU is one of 30 schools accredited by American Veterinary Medical Association, Council on Education.
The college increased its class size from 56 to 72 students this fall. In 2016, 100 percent of OSU’s graduating class passed their NAVLE (National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners) exams, surpassing the Council on Education standard of 80 percent.