When Margaret Hamilton Duprey learned at the October 2019 Wilson College Board of Trustees meeting that the college hadn’t raised enough money through donations to cover the entire cost of the new veterinary education center, she stepped up.
Duprey─a Wilson Trustee who had already made a $1 million gift to the veterinary center─made another pledge: From then through December 2019, she would match every dollar contributed to the project to help close a $90,000 gap between what had already been raised and the new facility’s $3 million price tag.
“(Duprey) said she wanted to provide a matching gift scenario where she would match any gift that came in from that point forward,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Camilla Rawleigh.
Duprey announced the one-to-one match before the board meeting ended and the effect was almost immediate. Wilson Interim President A. Richard Kneedler and his wife, Suzette Gallagher Kneedler ’67, made the first gift to what was dubbed the VEC Duprey Challenge.
And in a serendipitous coincidence, another former Wilson president, Donald F. Bletz, made a gift around the Christmas holiday that pushed the veterinary center campaign to its goal in just two months, Rawleigh said.
“The Duprey Challenge was very successful in helping us reach our fundraising goal,” said Rawleigh. “We are enormously grateful to Margaret for her continued generosity─and to all who donated the project,” said Rawleigh.
In total, the college has raised $3,008,341 from 103 donors for the veterinary education center, according to Rawleigh.
The veterinary center is home to Wilson’s four-year veterinary medical technology program. VMT is the second-most popular major at the college, after nursing.
The new center opened just before the fall 2019 semester began, replacing the cramped and outdated Helen M. Beach ’24 veterinary facility, which has since been torn down. The college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 19, 2019, to mark the opening of the building─named the Breakefield Veterinary Education Center in recognition of Susan Breakefield Fulton ’61, who contributed the lead gift and other gifts totaling $975,000.
Fulton and Hamilton both attended the ribbon-cutting for the center, where the clinical suites, animal facilities and onsite programs and courses are collectively known as the Margaret Hamilton Duprey Center for Veterinary Excellence.
A lifelong horsewoman and business owner, Duprey also contributed $500,000 to Wilson in 2015 to establish an innovative home healthcare nursing program for horses called Equi-Assist®. A focused concentration within the college’s VMT program, Equi-Assist® trains students to provide home healthcare to horses, under the guidance of a veterinarian.
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