Gifts in Action

Your Gifts Tell the Story

Behind every gift to WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine is a story. The detection of a new disease helps save lives. A scholarship makes school more affordable. A beloved animal's life is saved from cancer. From everyone at the college, you have our sincere gratitude for your generous support.

  • Giving Back Just a Little Makes a Big Difference in a Student's Life

    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Billy Hansen

    (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 and Laura Gibbons

    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.


  • Donor Gifts Help Purchase a Needed Ophthalmology Table

    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Ophthalmology Table

    Dr. Terri Alessio, WSU veterinary
    ophthalmology specialist (right), with
    Marie Crossley, LVT (left), and "Daisy."

    Small gifts can add up to make a big difference. In 2009, Dr. Terri Alessio, WSU veterinary ophthalmology specialist, received a new height-adjustable examination table that has helped hundreds of her patients that she can now easily bring to eye level.

    "It really helps for patient comfort," said Dr. Alessio. "We can adjust the table to where the animal feels most comfortable."

    Before the ophthalmology group received the height-adjustable table, geriatric patients had to be lifted onto the table. Now the table can be lowered so that older patients can step on and then it is raised to just the right height. It can also be raised for smaller dogs and cats or lowered for big dogs.

    "If a large dog feels like standing, the table can be lowered rather than asking the dog to lie down," said Dr. Alessio.

    Donations from many friends of the college made this purchase possible.

    "When people make general donations to the college, we put the money in a fund that can be used for just these types of needs," said Lynne Haley, director of development for the college. "People sometimes think a small gift doesn't do much, but those gifts add up and can have a big impact."

    When she can, Dr. Alessio takes the height-adjustable table to the surgery room with her. But she hopes to someday have a second table.

    "Our patients are more comfortable and relaxed," said Dr. Alessio. "It has made an incredible difference."