Gifts in Action

Gifts in Action

A Legacy for Future Students

Published Date:October 27, 2006

You could say the McConnell family blood runs orange and blue. Dr. David McConnell and his wife Bonnie both attended the University of Illinois, as did their three children. "I never seriously thought of going anywhere else," says eldest daughter Ellen Blakeman.

Give to Illinois

Published Date: October 27, 2006


Bequest Says Thank You for Emergency Care

Published Date:October 27, 2006

In June 2001, when John and Marilyn Carlsson's standard poodle, Coco, was sent to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital as an emergency referral, her chances did not look good. It was a really hard time for Marilyn because her father had recently passed away. She remembers standing outside her workplace and, "asking my dad not to let Coco leave me too."

After the successful removal of a gastric obstruction, Coco and the Carlssons enjoyed another five years together. "My experience at the U of I was the best. Everybody I talked to from doctors to students were very concerned not only about the animal, but my feelings too. John and I were so impressed with the way everything went there," says Mrs. Carlsson.

Their experience at the University of Illinois made Mr. Carlsson think of donating their estate to create a full veterinary scholarship that will help future veterinarians. As a result, they recently established the John E. Carlsson and Marilyn T. Carlsson Scholarship Fund through a deferred gift. "We don't have any kids. What are we going to do with it when we're gone?" asks Mrs. Carlsson.

They wanted to provide a full scholarship because the high cost of veterinary school -- currently near $14,000 a year for in-state students-- is likely to be even more expensive in the future when their gift is activated, says Mrs. Carlsson. "It's such a great thing, creating a scholarship for a person who has the calling and the smarts to be a veterinarian but may not have the means. I think it will be really cool to help a student in that way," Mrs. Carlsson says.

Dr. Sandra Manfra-Marretta, veterinary clinical medicine, is pictured with Mrs. Carlsson and Coco at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Give to Illinois

Published Date: October 27, 2006


Memorial Fund Supports Research

Published Date:October 27, 2006

When their Brittany spaniel, Freckles, developed bone cancer and had to be euthanized, Dr. Paul and Mary Jo Arndt were devastated. "Losing a pet is such a terrible grieving process," says Mrs. Arndt. "It was so painful." About this time, the College of Veterinary Medicine established the Companion Animal Memorial Fund. As soon as he learned about the fund, Dr. Arndt (IL '57) saw its value. His Lombard Veterinary Hospital became the first to use the fund tomemorialize Freckles as well as clients' pets.

When a pet dies or is euthanized, veterinarians and other caring individuals can make a donation to the Companion Animal Memorial Fund in memory of the pet. An acknowledgement card sent to the owners lets them know of the gift and explains that the money will help fund research on conditions affecting companion animals.

Over its 21-year existence, the Companion Animal Memorial Fund has received more than $775,000 and supported more than 35 noninvasive projects, most covering conditions in dogs and cats, which are the main species memorialized by the fund.

Projects funded have included studies of arthroscopic evaluation of elbow problems in Labrador retrievers, treatments for canine cancer, and therapy heart disease in Doberman pinschers. The Companion Animal Memorial Fund program has also provided start up funds for the college's oncologist, assistance for training our veterinary dentistry residents, and support for our free, nationwide CARE Pet Loss Helpline.

"Our clients have written so many beautiful notes. It really helps them to know that they money goes to help other animals," says Mrs. Arndt.

Dr. Arndt also sees the Companion Animal Memorial Fund as a way to give back to his alma mater. "I am very thankful for my education and what it has done for me. It's my way of giving back to the school," says Dr. Arndt.

Above, Mrs. Arndt and her husband Paul pose with their daughter Dr. Georgianne Ludwig (IL '93) in their Lombard hospital.

Give to Illinois

Published Date: October 27, 2006