Western University’s 40th annual “A Tribute to Caring” celebration became a virtual, online event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is an important fundraiser for the University’s scholarship programs.

The event video, unveiled on February 13, featured two College of Veterinary Medicine students, as well as many others from the WesternU community who donated their time, skills and knowledge to help others during the pandemic.

Marcella Mancini, DVM ’23, and Anne Underwood, DVM ’22, were highlighted for their work volunteering at veterinary clinics hit hard by the pandemic. Ms. Mancini recounted the difficulties inherent in serving animals while health standards required reduced numbers of workers at sites and improved site cleanliness.

“Emergencies don’t stop for a pandemic, and neither could we,” she said.

Ms. Underwood assisted at a small animal hospital, where clients and their pets were often frightened and confused by pandemic and unable to communicate with doctors. She helped staff comfort clients as they dealt with the unusual circumstances.

“I had the opportunity to help with a lady who was struggling with the recent death of a pet and a new illness in her living pet,” Ms. Underwood recalled. “She was overwhelmed by the treatment and unable to communicate with the doctor due to the Covid standards. I sat with her and calmly discussed the plan, answering her questions and providing her with some relief. It was one way I could foster the human-animal bond during these uncertain times.”

The stories included in the virtual event highlighted the University’s commitment to humanism, a cornerstone of WesternU’s mission, according to Dr. Diane M. Abraham, PhD, MBA, CFRE, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and the program’s host.

“These are the men and women who one day will support us in our health care needs,” she said. “These are the heroes. But we can all play a part on this, the night of our 40th scholarship gala, we ask you to support those who will support you. In this way, you too can be a hero.”

WesternU President Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, announced the newly-created WesternU Board of Trustees Scholarship.

“Each year, Western University of Health Sciences prepares over 1,000 well-trained, caring and compassionate health care professionals,” Wilson said. “To support tomorrow’s graduates who will be providing the world’s future frontline health care needs, the WesternU Board of Trustees has established a $6 million endowment, which is set to grow, but already awards $300,000 per year in scholarships to students. This generous scholarship fund is a clear confirmation of how student support is a primary focus at WesternU.”

A Tribute to Caring raised $100,000 this year, with donations continuing to come in. ATC proceeds are divided among each of WesternU’s nine colleges to award as Academic Excellence Scholarships, and a portion is added to an endowment to fund future scholarships. The endowment’s value is nearly $1.5 million, Abraham said.

Visit the A Tribute to Caring website for more information on donating to student scholarships, and to watch the ATC video: https://joinus.westernu.edu/tribute/