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For the Love of Animals

Randolph Reid and Betty Minton share a love of animals— especially dogs. So when a beloved retriever was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live, the couple wanted to ensure he would receive the best possible healthcare.

They found that care, and much more, at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Their experiences there led the retired Clayton couple to make a generous bequest that will benefit the college. “You’ve got to plan,” Randolph said. “That’s what Chancellor (Randy) Woodson is working on, building the foundation for the future. It’s important to support the university today, but you have to think 15, 20, 25 years down the road, too.”

The couple’s relationship with CVM began over the 1997 New Year’s Eve holiday, when their 12-year-old flat coat retriever, Buck, grew ill. Still working as an executive in the homebuilding industry at the time, Randolph had recently become friends with CVM oncologist Dr. Sylvester Price while building him a house. Buck soon became a CVM cancer patient. Excellent care helped him beat the odds and enjoy a good quality of life for nearly three more years. “That’s really what it’s about—helping animals is also helping people,” Randolph said. “When Buck got sick, I was overseeing 120 employees and we built 400 houses a year. But I worried about him. The vet school staff was great and really took a load of anxiety off us.”

“They do so many wonderful things here (at CVM),” Betty said. “They’ve been so good to our dogs; they’re so compassionate.” The couple views the college—which U.S. News & World Report has ranked third in the nation among colleges of veterinary medicine—as a jewel in NC State’s crown and an invaluable regional resource.

A couple of years after Buck’s diagnosis, Randolph began chatting even more regularly with CVM volunteers during visits there with another dog, Molly, who was undergoing hip treatment. That experience inspired him to become a volunteer Man and woman stand beside painting of two dogs swimminggreeter himself. He enjoys aiding clients who have brought their animals to CVM from across the region or out of state: “I see what this place means to people. Animals are part of their families.” A willingness “to do anything, even cleaning up the dog walk area,” he joked, helped lead to his service as chair of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation that supports CVM. “I’m an ECU pirate in every sense of the word—except when it comes to the NC State vet school,” said Randolph, a proud 1973 East Carolina graduate.

Through Randolph’s board role, the couple grew more knowledgeable about, and appreciative of, CVM’s cutting-edge research and innovative education. Randolph speaks enthusiastically, for example, about the college’s linear accelerator— a sort of ultra-sophisticated X-ray machine that can revolutionize cancer treatment.

The ripple effects of such technology include an increased ability to attract top faculty, he said, and private giving is important to boost that level of effort. In 2012 the couple used appreciated stock to establish the Molly and Felix Team Work Research Fund—an endowment named in memory of Molly and a third dog who was a CVM patient—to provide grants for CVM clinicians engaged in collaborative work across departments and even colleges.

They are excited about studies happening at CVM in fields including translational regenerative medicine, one of NC State’s interdisciplinary focus areas. “There’s important research going on here that can impact human health, as well,” said Betty, who is an alumna of NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) and of Meredith College. “We feel like you work hard all your life. You want some of your money to make a real difference,” Randolph said. “It’s hard for me to imagine what veterinary medicine might be like in 30 years, but we hope to contribute so that this college can maintain its position as a world leader.”

Article by Lisa Coston Hall
NC State Office of Development Communications and Donor Relations