Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04
(l to r): Charlie (3), Laurel,
Hank (5), Billy, and Ike (6 months)
As a non-traditional student with a wife and three kids to support, Billy Hansen ('14 DVM) has a lot on his plate. Because of the skyrocketing costs of a veterinary education, Billy, like so many of his classmates, relies almost entirely on student loans to pay for school. So when he received the $750 Dr. Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back" Scholarship it meant a lot.
"It was a small amount compared to my student loans, but it made the burden of the semester lighter," said Hansen. "I didn't have to worry so much about finances and that helped me concentrate on school and my studies."
Before coming to WSU in 2010, Billy, who is originally from rural Utah, attended the University of Utah as a business major after serving a mission in Brazil. But during his last year he decided it was veterinary medicine, not business, that was his calling. He and his wife moved to Logan and he finished a bio-veterinary sciences degree at Utah State.
During Billy's first year as a WSU veterinary student he met Aaron Gibbons ('11 DVM), then in his fourth year of veterinary school and also a non-traditional student.
"We had a lot in common," said Hansen. So it felt like a bit of kismet when he was awarded the Dr. Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back" Scholarship.
"It was really thoughtful the Gibbons provided this scholarship," said Hansen. "I am grateful that I got it."
Aaron Gibbons and his wife Laura
After he graduates in 2014, Billy and his family plan to move back to Utah where he hopes to find a position at a mixed-animal, private practice. Ultimately, he has even bigger career aspirations.
"My goal is to one day buy into my own practice," he said.
Aaron Gibbons ('11 DVM and SAVMA president 2011) and his family know first-hand how expensive it is to earn a veterinary degree. Tuition since 1996 has nearly tripled and in-state students now pay more than $22,000 a year. Just one year after he graduated, Aaron and his wife Laura gave $750 to establish the Dr. Aaron and Laura Gibbons Family "Giving Back" Scholarship to help a current student. Student scholarships can help defray some of the costs of education putting our students in a more competitive position as they start their careers.