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Couple gives $2 million to MU vet school

Alumni donation is in memory of their golden basset hound.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:41 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A basset hound is the latest benefactor of the For All We Call Mizzou Campaign.

A $2 million gift to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, from alumni Tom and Betty Scott of Mission Hills, Kan., came from human hands Monday. But it was a paw that set things in motion.

The Scotts, who met while stu­dents at MU, were married three months after Tom Scott’s graduation in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in business. Shortly thereafter, the couple brought their golden basset hound, Smiley, to the veterinary college for treatment of a broken vertebra. There was little the school could do for the dog, or any dog with a back injury, because of the limitations of veterinary medicine at the time.

Nevertheless, the Scotts were impressed by the care given to their pet.

“At the time, we couldn’t do much but pay the bill,” Tom Scott said at a ceremony in Reynolds Alumni Center, where the gift was announced.

In memory of their pet, they promised to do more.

Since then, the Scotts “have supported the college in greater amounts,” said Randy Mertens, publications coordinator for the college.

Among the other gifts given to

the college by the Scotts was more than $500,000 for an en-

dowed program in cancer diagnosis, treatment and research for animals in the mid-1990s, said Cecil Moore, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. That program, in conjunction with other medical disciplines at MU, seeks cancer treatments that have an application in both animals and humans.

“Because cancer in animals may serve as a model for cancer in human beings, it turns out there is great value in studying the animal issues as they may relate to people,” Moore said.

Moore said the Scotts also contributed money to help construct Clydesdale Hall, the college’s teaching hospital.

“They made a very substantial contribution because private funds had to be raised to leverage state support before the new hospital could be built,” Moore said.

The current gift will be put into an unrestricted excellence fund, which can be used at the discretion of the dean of the college. Chancellor Brady Deaton said the gift may aid in the college’s search for a new dean. Former dean Joe Kornegay left the job in October.

“This makes that deanship relatively more attractive because you’ve got a significant amount of funds to work with in an unfettered way, and the dean will be able to see where the key direction points are within the college and then advance those,” Deaton said. “That’s the real value of it.”

The Scotts’ latest gift is an es-

tate gift, which means the money won’t be available until the donors are deceased. Tom Scott said he and his wife have “been very well pleased” with how the money they have donated in the past has been used by the veterinary college. Veterinary oncology’s possible dual application makes it “a nice combination,” he said. “Maybe we can get something that will work for everybody, including pets.”


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