2020 Scholarship Dinner Brings Donors and Students Together

The Michele M. and Ross M. Annable Scholarship was established as an act of gratitude. 

As the keynote speaker at this year’s annual NC State College of Veterinary Medicine scholarship dinner, Ross Annable said that he and his wife wanted to show their appreciation for the life-saving treatment their dog, Jordan, a German shepherd mix, received at NC State. Jordan’s hip dysplasia had gotten so bad that without hip replacement surgery he would have had to be euthanized.  

“We were amazed at the level of professionalism and compassion,” he said. “We wanted to do something more than just pay the vet bill.”

After carefully considering several options, Annable said that they had two main considerations. 

“We were looking for sustainability and leverage — bang for the buck. And we wanted to do something for people,” he said. 

It was more than just “something.” The couple chose to donate $5 million. With matching funds available for the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation, the $10 million scholarship endowment was established in 2016. The need-based scholarship, awarded annually, encourages DVM students to volunteer their time and talent to their community. It pays for up to half the cost of tuition and fees. To date, 55 students have received invaluable assistance from the fund.

Many of those students were in attendance at this year’s scholarship dinner, hosted by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation at NC State’s Talley Student Union. NCVMF board chair Judy Grainger welcomed attendees while board member and WRAL anchor Gerald Owens emceed the evening.

The event is an annual chance for CVM scholarship donors to mingle with the CVM students they have impacted so directly and so monumentally. 

“We’re not leaving a world that’s in as good a condition as we found it,” Annable said, referring to his own generation. “We’re passing on some burdens and a real challenge. The good news is, we’re convinced the new generation is up to the challenge.”

During the dinner, CVM Dean Paul Lunn reported that donations to the college’s scholarship funds exceeded $1 million for the first time ever last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of donors, it is on track to exceed that amount again this year. Lunn said that while the CVM continues to have the lowest tuition among veterinary schools in the nation paired with an extraordinary educational experience, helping to ease student debt remains a top priority. CVM scholarship donors are a pivotal part of student success, said Lunn. 

Two students who are beneficiaries of scholarships, Amanda Maxwell of the Class of 2020 and Kier Way of the Class of 2022, related inspiring stories of overcoming significant personal challenges to reach their dream of getting a veterinary education. 

Both said achieving their goals would have been impossible without critical financial support from scholarships. Maxwell and Way are each the first members of their families to attend college.

In her speech, Maxwell recounted struggles, personal and financial, in pursuit of her dream to become a veterinarian. “I felt overwhelmed,” she said. “It seemed insurmountable.” But at key moments there were those people who supported her on her journey. 

“It took a village to make it possible for me to be standing here today — including you, the donors. I remember crying when I heard I had received a scholarship. All of us have a village behind us. And we thank you so much.”

Save the date: Day of Giving is March 25. Funds raised on this day will offer additional scholarship opportunities for current and future veterinarians.

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine