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Class of 2010 'pays forward'
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- They still have three years of classes ahead of them, but members of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine's class of 2010 have already made a positive impact.
The class has pledged $10,000 to the Pegasus Partners Endowment Fund.
“We were speechless at first,” said Dr. Robert Cooper, associate dean at the college. “No entering class had ever proposed an ambitious undertaking such as this one.”
The fund was established in 2002 through the MSU Foundation as a way to support activities at CVM that contribute to the prestige, stability and mission of the college. The goal for the endowment is $2.5 million.
“The college seeks to educate students in the most effective method possible, and that includes our working to decrease their debt load,” said Barbara Coats, student affairs coordinator. “The scholarships that will be afforded by the class of 2010's pledge will allow us to continue attracting high-quality students.”
The first individual contributor to Pegasus Partners was Dr. James A. Brett of Montezuma, Ga., who was a member of the graduating class of 1983. Many individuals and groups have followed Brett's lead. The 72-member class of 2010 wants to set a precedent for giving as a class of students.
“Our class is serious about our education and about those students who follow behind us,” said class president Keith Youngblood of Laurel. “The contributions made by people who preceded us have made it possible for us to have a better opportunity for an education. We want to honor what they did for us.”
To raise the money, the students have decided to donate $500 of class dues each year to the fund. Students also have forwarded contributions from family members, friends, educational groups, animal enthusiasts and veterinary clinics. Some have creative plans that will be revealed in the next two years.
“We set a goal of raising at least $2,500 a year, and we have already raised more than $3,000,” said Youngblood, who at 33 is considered the “elder statesman” of the class. “We are determined to give back to CVM in a way that will spark interest.”
Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the college, has already taken notice.
“We are pleased that this group of students has made such a commitment,” Hoblet said. “The students have only been part of our college's family for a few months, but they have chosen to pay forward. I am encouraged by their willingness to serve the veterinary community, the university and the public.”