St. Louis couple commits $2.5 million gift to MU College of Veterinary Medicine

Monday, March 3, 2014 | 6:01 p.m. CST; updated 6:18 a.m. CST, Tuesday, March 4, 2014

COLUMBIA — St. Louis animal lovers Gary Savill and Barbara Stampfli-Savill had no ties to MU before deciding to commit $2.5 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Myself and Barbara, we don't have any children," Savill said Monday during an announcement ceremony. "We were looking around, trying to think, 'What are we going to do with our estate when we go? What can we do that's going to be worthwhile — something that's going to last?'"

The gift will fund one or more scholarships covering 50 percent of all tuition and fees for veterinary students, according to a release from the MU News Bureau. Preference will be shown to students from underrepresented ethnic groups.

An established college scholarship committee will select recipients, said Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Recipients will be required to complete at least 120 hours of animal-related volunteer service each year, according to the release. Volunteering is important to both Savill and Stampfli-Savill, who volunteer at Gateway Pet Guardians in St. Louis and the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, respectively.

"We wanted to make sure that the folks who benefited from the scholarship paid it forward," Savill said.

The couple, who own the motorcycle-building shop Silver Wraith Choppers in St. Louis, also donated a motorcycle, custom built by Savill, to be raffled off during the college's annual Gentle Doctor Benefit on April 5.

MU is having a record-setting fundraising year, but this estate commitment of $2.5 million will not be counted in the fundraising total, said University Advancement Vice Chancellor Tom Hiles. Estate gift amounts are counted differently and will be included in overall campaign numbers released in fall 2015, he said.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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