To Anna Allen, a CVM alumna from the Class of 2010, the most important thing is not how much you give back, but how faithfully. She has made a donation to the college every year since graduating from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010.
“You shouldn’t compare yourself to others,” she said. “Just give whatever you’re able to give to the places you believe in. I come from a family of giving. I grew up with that lifestyle.”
It’s a philosophy she applies to various charities and causes, including Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she was an undergraduate, and NC State. She supports NC State because it’s where she feels an especially strong sense of connection. “It’s my second home,” she said.
Allen’s first contribution to the CVM was $20.10, in honor of her graduation year. Now well established with a career and a family, last year she was able to donate $1,000 to the college in support of the equine program. Her involvement with horses dates back a long way, including her time as part of the varsity equestrian team when she was an undergraduate.
Today, as the Southeast region emergency programs veterinarian in the Emergency Programs Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Allen focuses on issues such as food safety and emergency preparedness, especially involving farm animals. That includes recovering from major events like hurricanes and floods, as well as dealing with disease outbreaks.
Of course, Allen has a life outside of her support for her alma mater, with a family that includes a 4-year-old son, two dogs and a cat. “I don’t have a lot of time to give to causes,” she said. “I give because I can. Not everyone can, but I can, so I do.”
As a pet owner, she has come back to campus for medical services at the NC State Veterinary Hospital, experiences that also motivated her to give. “There’s no question that this is where we come for more than basic care,” Allen said. “They’ve all been wonderful experiences. There is great compassion for people and for animals.”
There’s also another part of the CVM that she feels strongly about, the college’s on-site Teaching Animal Unit, or TAU, where students get hands-on training with animals on an 80-acre farm. “It’s unique among institutions and a valuable part of the community,” she said. I hope it never goes anywhere.”
It’s clear that Anna Allen’s heart will always be a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine, too.
“I just feel so privileged to be here,” she said. “It brings me joy.”
~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine