Veterinarians work at the intersection of animal and human health. The intricate connections between people, animals, and our environment create a set of challenges that link the health and well-being of each group to the other. This dynamic—and the need for more people who are qualified to address the burgeoning challenges associated with it—are at the root of a gift from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Created for the purpose of protecting and improving the welfare of animals of all kinds with a focus on cats and dogs, the promotion of veterinary programs, and the protection of wildlife, the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation has awarded the College of Veterinary Medicine a $300,000 grant to be distributed evenly over three years. The resources will be used to support experiential learning as well as research in the areas of shelter and conservation medicines.
“John and Jane shared their lives with a number of animals and enjoyed nature very much,” said Marsha Sterling, Chair of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation. “Jane established the Foundation to honor her husband. In doing so, she has given us a rare and wonderful opportunity to consider the entire spectrum of animal care. When we learned from fellow Trustee Dr. Marnie FitzMaurice of the potential opportunities to fund work in the areas of shelter medicine and conservation medicine, we realized that we could honor the Wiederholds’ wishes by inspiring students to pursue these avenues of the profession—as practitioners and as researchers.”
Each year, college faculty will be invited to submit proposals for programs and research investigations that will provide additional and innovative opportunities for veterinary and post-veterinary students to engage in hands-on work or conduct basic or applied research that fosters a greater awareness of issues related to animal welfare and environmental conservation. Programs may be conducted during the academic year or over the summer and may address some of society’s most critical needs: pet overpopulation, wildlife preservation and conservation, and animal cruelty, to name a few.
“I continue to be grateful to the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation for their ongoing interest in supporting conservation and shelter medicine programs at Cornell,” said Michael I. Kotlikoff, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. “The Foundation’s support has a significant impact on the College’s work to train students and to advance knowledge in areas that serve the world’s most vulnerable animals. Together, we are preparing a new generation of professionals who will explore the interdependent relationships that exist between all species and our habitat. Through these initiatives, our students will learn first-hand how these relationships affect the health of animals wild and domestic, and sustain a well balanced environment.”