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Beloved faculty member establishes charitable gift

Dr. DCollege supporters have a variety of options to express their commitment to animal health. One certainly worth considering, according to Dr. Alexander de Lahunta DVM ’58, PhD ’63, is a planned gift that has the power to benefit both the College and the donor. With his recent charitable gift annuity, Dr. de Lahunta has officially joined the circle of friends who choose to express their commitment to animal health and the education of those who are preparing themselves to advance the health and well-being of animals and people.

“All donors are important, and through their gifts they have the power to change lives,” said Dr. Michael I. Kotlikoff, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Gifts that come from faculty like Dr. de Lahunta, however, are especially rewarding, as our faculty know the College best. Dr. de Lahunta has done so much to advance veterinary medicine and impact students’ lives, and this annuity will permanently continue his amazing contributions to Cornell.”

A leader in the field of neuroanatomy for more than 50 years and an emeritus professor at the College, Dr. D. is best known for his positive impact on students. His commitment and dedication to making sure students succeed might only be matched, he mused, by the commitment and dedication Cornell graduates devote to the veterinary profession.

“Dr. D. has been invaluable to my (and hundreds if not thousands of other veterinarians’) education,” said Dr. Paul Bookbinder ’86. “He is certainly one of the best teachers I have ever had. He is a world-class scientist, having discovered and clarified myriad neurologic conditions of animals. He has penned three of the world’s most important veterinary textbooks and dozens of research articles … works that will enrich the lives of veterinarians for generations. And he is the greatest veterinary neurologists I’ve ever met.”

Through his charitable giving, Dr. de Lahunta continues to care for veterinary students with unrestricted funds to the College.

“I agonized over how to structure my gift,” said Dr. D., who receives monthly payments from the annuity as well. “Finally, I decided to let the dean decide how best to use the resources. Times change. The College’s leader and those who advise him are in the best position to know where the need is greatest and to see opportunities that would be a shame to miss. Financially, a charitable gift annuity made sense.”

For Dr. D., the timing also made sense. With his children grown and provided for, he said he has reached a stage in his life where he could give a gift of this magnitude.

“Philanthropy is a very personal decision,” said Dr. D. “Many factors need to be considered: the stage of your family, your financial situation, predictions for the future. But for those of us who find ourselves in a position like mine–my family and my future have been planned for—helping the College of Veterinary Medicine prepare the next generation of veterinarians is one of those opportunities that would be a shame to miss.”