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Bequest builds endowment of Cummings School hospitals

A $4 million bequest from the estate of an anonymous benefactor, a longtime client of the Foster Hospital for Small Animals, will provide $2 million each to the endowments of the Foster Hospital and the Hospital for Large Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton.

"This helps us tremendously," says the hospitals' director, Steven Rowell, DVM. "One of the challenges of being a teaching hospital is that it requires equipment and people beyond what you see in private practice."

Last year, the Foster Hospital for Small Animals recorded 26,500 patient visits from cats, dogs, and exotic pets, while the Hospital for Large Animals treated 1,800 cases, primarily horses and farm animals.

Rowell said the bequest is particularly welcome because, unlike a one-time gift, an endowment generates annual earnings. The funds will help the hospitals maintain the latest technology while enabling members of the Cummings School's exceptional faculty to do their best work, said the school's dean, Deborah Kochevar, DVM, Ph.D.

"It's expensive to operate a teaching hospital and to stay current with sophisticated medical equipment," Kochevar says. "Recently we installed a high-resolution MRI unit used for large and small animals, and a linear accelerator used to treat cancer in small animals. They are two examples of the sophisticated equipment a hospital needs today to stay on the cutting edge.

"We are the only veterinary school in New England," she notes. "This kind of gift allows us to maintain a level of excellence that is expected of an academic medical center."