Linda Kuhn, a 1989 graduate of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, doesn’t mince words when talking about her personal philosophy. She quotes an old saying: “We make a living by what we get, and we make a life by what we give.”
For Kuhn, part of making a life includes the recently established Linda J. Kuhn Class of 1989 Graduate Award Endowment for CVM veterinary students.
Kuhn decided that she wants the scholarship to be awarded to a unique kind of recipient.
“I want the scholarship to go to a student who is a team player,” she says. “Someone you can always count on. Someone who is happy to take the late shift or do the dirty job and won’t complain. Someone who is grateful to be there. Someone who gets the ultimate satisfaction from helping furry patients and their families.”
Kuhn put her personal beliefs into practice as soon as she received her DVM. After graduation, Kuhn moved to Greenville, North Carolina, and established a private veterinary practice, East Carolina Veterinary Service, which is still going strong.
There’s a page on the practice’s website about its commitment to community service. In addition to highlighting Kuhn’s volunteerism with the Humane Society of Eastern North Carolina, her mentorship of high school and college students and work with the Foundation for Shackleford Horses, the practice says it donates 5% of its earnings yearly to charitable and nonprofit organizations.
I want the scholarship to go to a student who is a team player. Someone you can always count on. Someone who is happy to take the late shift or do the dirty job and won’t complain. Someone who is grateful to be there.
Recently, Kuhn’s philanthropy shifted into a higher gear. When her mother passed away in 2019, she left an inheritance to her daughter, and Kuhn began to think what she could do for others.
Her thoughts went to the students she has spent so much time mentoring and encouraging. Kuhn brings in high school students to help train rescue dogs before adoption and gives college students with an interest in veterinary medicine a chance to volunteer at her clinic.
“I lacked the financial resources, and I had to work when I was in school,” Kuhn says. “When I got a scholarship it meant a lot to me.”
She hopes to pay back the college that gave her the skills she has used to become successful while also reducing one of the great sources of stress she sees facing young people today.
By specifically mentioning the class of 1989 in the name of her endowment, Kuhn hopes that some of her classmates might also be moved to donate to the fund.
“The vet school needs a culture of giving,” she says. “Some of my classmates are starting to retire. I’d like to encourage them to give back some of what they’ve made from their degree. You feel good when you donate to the school. It’s money well spent. It pays for scholarships, for equipment, for repairing buildings and the things that students need.”
And through the scholarship endowment, Kuhn is giving students another important boost on their way to making an impact on the world.
“I think of them like little boats that set sail on the water,” Kuhn says. “I try to give them a little breeze to help them get started.”
~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine
Photography for this story was taken prior to enhanced COVID-19 safety and mask protocol established for CVM faculty, staff and students, as well as the general public.