Residency Endowment Aims to Keep Equine Vets at Michigan State

Robert and Kay Ritchie have a vision: a steady stream of veterinary students in residency positions studying equine medicine at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine (MSU CVM). When their residency training is through, these promising young scholars decide to stay at CVM or to return after practicing in the field. They share their knowledge with new students, and encourage former colleagues to return to CVM, thereby establishing a tradition of excellence.

Their vision is becoming reality from their recent establishment of the Equine Medicine Residency Endowment, which supports an equine medicine residency position in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at CVM. The Ritchies have stipulated that this endowment be enlarged in the future to support several "Equine Clinical Scholars," who will make special contributions to equine health and well-being through their clinical work, teaching, and the generation of new knowledge.

"We really hope we can fund more and more people a year coming out of the system that, quite honestly, will stay in the academic professional arena," said Robert Ritchie. "Like Dean (Christopher) Brown and others in academia, who share their knowledge with others. This endowment really is meant to help the world understand that there is a very quality resource available at Michigan State that can do things for large and small animals. And I think the vet school and equine medicine can lead the way."

No strangers at MSU, the Ritchies have been generous benefactors for years.

Bob Ritchie grew up in Grand Rapids and earned the Evans Scholarship, which he used to attend MSU. He graduated with honors, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from MSU in 1961 and '62.

Kay Ritchie grew up in Detroit loving horses. She also graduated with honors from MSU, earning a bachelor's degree in home economics in 1962. The couple until recently frequented and participated in horse shows.

When the Ritchies decided to share their resources, they focused on animals, especially horses, and education, specifically MSU. They are major benefactors of the MSU Evans Scholars program, and now of CVM's equine programs. They also contribute to other causes, including the Humane Society of Michigan and Horses Haven in Howell, Mich.

"We really wanted to make a local impact," Bob said. "We hope our MSU endowment encourages other people to contribute, so it will help draw in more funds and accelerate education of people at higher levels of education, and draw in others of caliber. We hope this will benefit Michigan and the greater equine medicine area."

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