Celebrate the Act of Giving

By Michael Lairmore

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” -Napoleon Hill

Students at the 2016 Evening of Gratitude.

We celebrate the act of giving to others and creating dreams during our annual “Evening of Gratitude.” This is a special night and one that I look forward to each year. Our school’s 2017 scholarship and grant program provided $6.7 million in total support for our students this year! We are deeply grateful for the generous support of our individual, association and corporate scholarship donors who make these new and continuing awards possible.

Dr. Anjolie Daryani with her service dog, Ebony, who accompanied her to classes and events, including commencement.

An example of new investments in our students included the “Ebony Compassionate Care Scholarship Fund” created by Dr. Dustin Noack (DVM, 2014), our first Evening of Gratitude speaker, and Dr. Anjolie Daryani (DVM, 2015) for a student who demonstrates exceptional compassionate care for animals. Their compassion will pay forward to benefit the next generation of veterinarians from UC Davis.

The Northern San Joaquin Veterinary Medical Association Endowed Scholarship was recently established to serve veterinary students graduating from high schools primarily in northern San Joaquin counties. This gift will permit those in need to reach their goals and strengthen our bonds to California’s Central Valley. I am especially impressed that we now have 26 veterinary classes who have established scholarships, showing the power our alumni have to support our current students.

The Evening of Gratitude honors the donors and recipients of our scholarship and fellowship awards.

The true impact of helping others in need is often felt in those giving scholarships and gifts. At our scholarship event, our donors share their motivations for giving with our students. As is often the case with philanthropy, there is a warmth and spirit felt by our donors in their moment of generosity that only they can express. The very act of giving brings benefits to those that give beyond what can be purchased with money. Our donors are investing in the lives of our students, while at the same time satisfying a need deep in their soul, knowing they have improved the life of a student or allowed a new direction to a career not thought to be possible. Their selfless act of kindness is amplified when they look into the eyes of our students, listen to their stories, and connect to their visions of the future. Our donors often come away from the evening feeling blessed to be part of a human experience that will impact the health of animals and our society.

In our troubled and self-focused world, we find that small acts of generosity bring us closer to our true purpose and define a meaning in our life in ways we cannot predict. As our students advance to the next chapters of their lives, it is my hope that they remember what the gift meant to them in their moment of need. When the opportunity comes, we trust they will find a way to show their gratitude by giving back to help those less fortunate.

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