Penn Vet Receives Gift for State-of-the-Art Equine Surgical Suite

The University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center has received a $1 million leadership gift from Gail Riepe of Cockeysville, Md., toward the $17 million required to build a state-of-the-art equine surgical suite at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals.

Riepe is a 1968 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and is part of a loyal Penn family. Her father, husband and son all graduated from Penn; her husband, James S. Riepe, is also active as Chair of the Board of Penn Medicine and recently retired as Chair of the University's Board of Trustees. She has demonstrated her devotion to animals, horses in particular, through her involvement in Penn Vet's Equine Advisory Committee and more recently as a member of the Board of Overseers.

"This gift is a wonderful expression of Gail's personal commitment to Penn Vet's academic and clinical mission," said Penn President Amy Gutmann. "It is a hallmark of Gail and Jim's generosity to be both heartfelt and strategic. They know that first-class facilities make a tremendous difference and that it takes bold action to make these projects happen. We are grateful for their leadership as Penn Vet continues to set worldwide standards for equine care."

"Gail Riepe's love of animals and her particular passion for horses makes Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine the logical place for her to direct her energies," says Joan C. Hendricks, VMD, PhD and Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "Her passion will inspire others who share her love of horses. She and Jim are ideally suited to take a leading role in this project."

In her capacity as a Penn Vet Overseer, Riepe witnessed the unveiling of New Bolton Center's master plan for the refurbishment and expansion of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. The plan sparked Riepe's enthusiasm for the project, prompting her to take a leadership role in making the plan become a reality. "New Bolton Center's Widener Hospital is a key resource for horse-owners in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond," says Riepe. "Some of the best surgeons in equine medicine work there or have trained there. Their work is outstanding, and I'm very pleased to have begun this effort to provide the kind of surgical facilities that will match their skills."

The project will include two state-of-the-art operating rooms, a scrub room, three preparation rooms, five induction and recovery stalls, a work-up area, and standing surgery. The new facility will also include dedicated sterilization and clean storage areas, faculty and staff lounge, locker rooms, offices, and storage areas.

"We strive to be the leaders in equine care, and it is crucial that our facilities reflect that role," says Corinne Sweeney, DVM, associate dean and executive director of the New Bolton Center. "Gail and Jim Riepe understand the importance of a state-of-the-art surgery suite to the Widener Hospital, its exceptionally skilled and talented clinicians, its patients and its students. They 'get it,' and for that we are greatly appreciative."

Penn Vet's New Bolton Center consistently has one of the highest case loads of critically ill and injured large animals in North America. While improving the efficiency of its surgical services to help ensure better patient care, the new facility will also ease pressure on the existing general operating room facilities, which will be dedicated to surgeries involving food animals.

In addition to her gift of one million dollars, Riepe has vowed to help raise the additional $16 million required for the equine surgical suite. To date, almost three million dollars has been raised. The completion date for the project is dependent on the remaining funding.

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