UC Davis Wins AAVMC’s 2021 Scholarship Fundraising Excellence Award

Jeff Douglas or Jeanne Johnson
Phone: 202/371-9195, x144
Email: jdouglas@aavmc.org or jjohnson@aavmc.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2021 — The advancement team at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded the 2021 Award for Fundraising Excellence in Student Scholarships from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

The award seeks to advance the AAVMC’s strategic interest in achieving increased philanthropic support for DVM student scholarships at member institutions.

The winning team at UC Davis, led by Interim Assistant Dean of Advancement Debbie Wilson, introduced several new initiatives to elevate an ongoing program that provides $7.6 million in annual financial assistance to its approximately 600 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students. 

Those included retooling the donor stewardship program and working with 450 student scholarship recipients to send new appreciation packets, which resulted in additional gifts.

They also established the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Hardship Fund, which now provides emergency financial assistance for currently enrolled DVM students, MPVM students, PhD students and veterinary House Officers experiencing a serious and unexpected financial hardship that threatens their ability to stay enrolled. That program was launched during the school’s “Give Day” event on April 17-18, 2020.

“As a result of the advancement team’s work our school has kept veterinary school affordable, which provides benefits to society,” wrote former Dean Dr. Michael Lairmore. “Graduates with low debt have greater flexibility to pursue advanced scientific or clinical training, which leads to better patient care, and scientific and medical breakthroughs, as well as pursue public service careers.”

In the AVMA’s 2020 Economic State of the Veterinary Profession, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine was found to have the most optimal debt-to-income ratio of the U.S. based schools at 0.8, and the second-least median debt of any of the 30 schools, according to Lairmore. And even that’s improving.

“In the most recent figures available, our student debt declined 19% by median and 10% by mean when comparing 2018 to 2019 UC Davis graduates,” Lairmore wrote. “Student debt for these new graduates came in at a median of $96,958 compared to $120,250 from the previous year’s graduates and a mean of $91,486 compared to $101,328. These impressive advances were made possible by the exceptional work of our advancement team.”

The awards will be formally presented during the annual meeting of the Association of Veterinary Advancement Professionals (AVAP), to be held virtually on July 27.

Founded in 2018, the AAVMC Award for Fundraising Excellence in Student Scholarships is designed to inspire and recognize professional excellence and achievement in fundraising for DVM student scholarships among member institutions.


The member institutions of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world. Founded in 1966, the AAVMC represents more than 40,000 faculty, staff and students across the global academic veterinary medical community. Our member institutions include veterinary medical colleges and schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as well as departments of veterinary science and departments of comparative medicine in the U.S.

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