Cottrell and Kay Fox donated more than $5 million to the College of Veterinary Medicine Monday.
The Foxes’ gifted the money to honor their family veterinarians, James Schuessler and Fred Bendick.
The first part of the gift will fund comparative cancer research for both humans and animals. The second part is an endowment that will support companion animal medical and surgical care.
Cottrell Fox said the couple has seen the benefits of comparative cancer research in their own lives. Their family pet was diagnosed with bone cancer back in 2001 and was put on the drug Samarium to ease pains caused by the cancer.
In 2007, Kay’s father went into remission and also used the drug Samarium.
Samarium was developed at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Years of research allowed humans to safely use the drug. Fox said, “It dawned on us that this program at MU was fantastic and that we wanted to do more than just the chair and companion veterinary medicine.”
The gift fits in with the school’s One Health, One Medicine area of Mizzou advantage. Carolyn Henry, an MU professor of veterinary oncology and One Health, One Medicine facilitator said, “This truly will have an impact on people. What we learn through our comparative oncology work can translate into improved options for cancer care in people.”
The One Health, One Medicine program was created to help take comparative research to the next level.
Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine said, “The earnings from the endowment will generate a secure source of funds for the future.” He said the fund is crucial because of cuts to state funding.
The Foxes also helped launch the Perpetual Pet Care Program, which ensures that pets are taken care of after their owners can no longer take care of them.