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California Thoroughbred Foundation creates CVM scholarship

by Rodney Tanaka

February 9, 2011

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The California Thoroughbred Foundation (CTF) recently pledged $3,000 toward a scholarship that will be awarded to a Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) student.

The California Thoroughbred Foundation Scholarship will be presented during the College’s Honors Day event April 22, 2011, on WesternU’s Pomona, Calif. campus.

“”It’s the hope of CTF that this is the beginning of a long-term relationship with WesternU,”” said Neil O’Dwyer, a CTF board member since 2001. “”CTF truly believes that this is not a one-time scholarship, but the beginning of an annual scholarship.””

The scholarship ideally will be awarded to a third- or fourth-year CVM student. If no suitable candidates are found in those classes, first- and second-year CVM students will be considered.

Students are required to be in good standing with the College and demonstrate high scholastic achievement, high ethical standards and good citizenship. Students also should have a clearly demonstrated dedication to horses, their medical care and welfare, and preferably the thoroughbred industry, according to the scholarship criteria.

A scholarship committee composed of CVM faculty and CTF board members Jerry McMahon and O’Dwyer will select a winner.

“”Student debt has nearly tripled in the past decade thanks to a pernicious but steady reduction in government support of veterinary education,”” said CVM Dean Philip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “”Scholarships provided by organizations such as the CTF help mitigate the expense of obtaining a veterinary education, and enhance the ability of the graduate veterinarian to choose a professional avocation that might be personally attractive, such as equine medicine.””

O’Dwyer was an integral part of bringing the scholarship to CVM. He collaborated with CTF’s 12 board members during several board meetings to approve a scholarship to a veterinary school that was “”in our backyard,”” as he described it.

CTF has been awarding two scholarships annually to students from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. O’Dwyer envisions a strong affiliation between WesternU, CTF, and perhaps the Southern California Equine Foundation’s Equine Hospital (SCEF) at Santa Anita Park.

“”We are excited about the future possibilities of collaborating with CTF in a number of activities that will provide expanded services for the equine community in Southern California and learning opportunities for our students,”” Nelson said.

CTF oversees the Carlton F. Burke Memorial Library, which is housed at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association (CTBA) in Arcadia.

CTBA is an organization that promotes the breeding industry in California.

O’Dwyer, now retired after 20 years as an executive involved in horse racing at Fairplex Park in Pomona, says the city of Pomona holds a special place in his heart since he came here in 1961 from Ireland.

O’Dwyer says he became part of the “”town and gown”” group known as COMPatriots when it was organized and founded in 1982. COMPatriots was formed by WesternU’s founding president, Dr. Philip Pumerantz, to support the concept and ideas for shaping the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), which is now Western University of Health Sciences.

O’Dwyer also was on the committee that discussed the feasibility of a college of veterinary medicine at WesternU. CVM was established in 1998.

“”I admire Dr. Pumerantz greatly for what he accomplished,”” O’Dwyer said. “”It’s an honor to be able to participate in some small way with what he has done for the community.””

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