CORVALLIS, Ore. – A Portland couple is helping local cats and dogs have a happy and healthy new year, while educating the next generation of veterinarians.

A $200,000 gift from Joyce and Bill Furman to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University will provide medical supplies and other support for an innovative partnership between the college and the Oregon Humane Society (OHS) in Portland.

At the OHS Holman Medical Center, which opened in September 2007, fourth-year veterinary medicine students from OSU spend two weeks preparing animals for adoption – conducting examinations, making diagnoses, determining treatments and performing surgeries, including an average of 40 spay and neuter procedures.

“This is an amazing amount of hands-on experience,” said Kris Otteman, OHS director of shelter medicine. Otteman, an OSU graduate, notes that many students from other veterinary schools graduate after performing only four or five surgeries.

“This funding will help animals in desperate need of care,” Otteman said. “At the same time, it will further develop a program that will become a model for other veterinary schools. The Furmans’ gift means a happy new year for the veterinary profession as well as for pets and their families.”

The two-week rotation, which OSU requires for graduation in addition to other clinical experience, has proven to be so valuable that many students elect to repeat it, according to Cyril Clarke, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Expectations for this partnership were high, but the program has exceeded those expectations – both in advancing students’ education and in providing an important service to the Portland community,” Clarke said. “The college is very grateful to the Furmans and other friends for making this program possible through their support.”

Joyce Furman, a 1964 OSU graduate, serves on the OSU Foundation Campaign Steering Committee and is a noted community leader with ties to numerous Portland organizations related to education, the arts, animal welfare, homeless youth and other children’s services. Bill Furman is co-founder, president and CEO of The Greenbrier Companies, a Lake Oswego-based international supplier of transportation equipment and services to the railroad industry.

“We are glad to have the opportunity to support Oregon State University, my alma mater, as well as our community here in Portland,” Joyce Furman said. “This collaborative project is a great example of the powerful impact OSU is having in the metro area by teaming up with local organizations and businesses.”

The partnership between OHS and OSU represents an innovative collaboration between a veterinary college and humane organization. In addition to Otteman, Kirk Miller, a full-time OSU faculty member, is based at the Holman Medical Center to supervise the students, who live on site.

Each year about 10,000 animals come through OHS, located on N.E. Columbia Boulevard. About half will need spay and neuter surgery and another 1,000 animals usually require additional medical care before becoming eligible for adoption.

The Furmans’ gift is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Guided by OSU’s strategic plan, the campaign seeks $625 million to provide opportunities for students, strengthen the Oregon economy and conduct research that changes the world. More than $477 million has been committed to date.

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Kris Otteman,