PEMBROKE — Pembroke veterinarian David Brooks along with other local veterinarians have been generously giving for several years to a veterinarian scholarship at North Carolina State University.
Last month, Dr. Paul Lunn, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C. State University, made a special trip to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to personally thank Brooks and other contributors.
The Old Main Native American Indian Veterinarian Endowed Scholarship was established in 2011. Since then, it has swelled to more than $25,000. During his visit, Lunn announced that the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation has matched that amount, bringing the endowment fund to $50,000.
The announcement brought Brooks to tears.
“I would like to thank so many for this grand occasion,” said Brooks before a small private gathering inside the chancellor’s dining room.
Brooks, a UNCP alumnus, has practiced veterinary medicine in Pembroke since 1978.
“In 2011, I had this dream to do something to help aspiring Native American veterinarians, so I talked with my fellow veterinarians and we decided to start a scholarship at N.C. State because there was a young lady in school there who felt like a daughter to me.”
That lady, Dr. Sonya Chavis, was the first Old Main scholarship recipient. After graduating from N.C. State, she continued her employment alongside Dr. Brooks at Pembroke Veterinary Hospital.
Chavis attended the meeting at UNCP along with Chancellor Robin Cummings and representatives with the College of Veterinary Medicine. Since earning her degree, Chavis has donated to the Old Main scholarship.
“With this scholarship, it was Dr. Brooks’ hope that each recipient would give back, because that’s the whole nature of the world,” Chavis said. “So that’s what I decided to do after I graduated because if we don’t keep it going it will not be available for future generations.”
N.C. State has awarded $7,000 in veterinary scholarships since the endowment was established. Award amounts ranged from $1,000 to $2,000.
“I couldn’t haven’t done this without so many others giving toward this scholarship,” Brooks said. “This was a concerted effort of the eight Native American veterinarians in this area.”
Brooks, a 1974 graduate, maintains strong ties to his alma mater. He is a former part-time professor in the Biology Department, a former president of the UNCP Alumni Association and a member of both the Lifetime Alumni Association and Lifetime Chancellor’s Club.
This is the first step in an ongoing effort to encourage enrollment of Native American veterinary students at N.C. State, according to Lunn.
“Native Americans are a critically important, under-represented group in veterinary medicine,” he said. “We are excited and proud to be able to offer this new source of assistance to students from these communities. I cannot thank Dr. Brooks and his fellow donors enough for what they have accomplished, and for their partnership with N.C. State.”
Lunn was joined in his visit to UNCP by Jennifer Neel, interim associate dean and director of Academic Affairs of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Allison Crouch, executive director of Development for the College of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Allen Cannedy, director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
Lunn said he hopes to return to UNCP soon to continue strengthening the partnership between the university and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
“We are here to build bridges between UNC Pembroke and N.C. State, specifically with the College of Veterinary Medicine,” Lunn said. “We’ve had some excellent discussions and I believe these outcomes will create great access and build a pathway for UNC Pembroke students to have the best possible opportunity to joining N.C. State, specifically the pathway to veterinary medicine. Over the coming weeks, hopefully we can turn these meetings and these words into firm agreements, where the chancellor and I will be able to officially endorse, have the opportunity to implement and solidify this partnership.”
Mark Locklear is the public communication specialist for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.