LEESBURG, Va., Dec. 18, 2007 – Shelley Duke, owner and manager of Rallywood Farm in Middleburg, Va., has pledged a gift of more than $10 million through her estate to Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center.
This estate gift, the largest in the hospital's history, is expected to eventually establish a major emergency and critical care program.
"We are extremely grateful for Shelley's generosity and vision," said Dr. Nat White, Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. "Her gift is extraordinary in terms of the impact that it will have on horses treated at the equine medical center and on veterinary medicine around the world."
Duke said she made this pledge for the future advancement of the equine medical center in large part due to the strong relationships that she has developed with the center's faculty and staff as a leader, client, and volunteer.
"I wanted to ensure that there will always be a place for horses within the Mid-Atlantic Region to be treated when they are critically ill or injured," said Duke. "In terms of equine surgery and internal medicine, I just don't know where you can find better care and knowledge at work."
A member of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, the Ut Prosim Society, and the Legacy Society, Duke has spent more than 20 years working towards the betterment of equine healthcare and veterinary programs at the university.
She has served as chair of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center Council since 1999 and is credited with establishing the hospital's highly successful volunteer program. Duke was named the recipient of the center's first Distinguished Service Award in September.
Duke's gift, along with several other multimillion dollar commitments, was announced by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger during a press conference that preceded the formal launch of the university's $1 billion The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future fundraising campaign.
"Shelley Duke's impressive background in real estate and investment banking has made her an invaluable advisor on our Board of Visitors, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, the Women and Leadership in Philanthropy Council and numerous other boards and committees," said Steger. "We are especially grateful that her passion for competitive riding and other equine pursuits has translated into tireless work in support of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center."
Duke hopes that her planned gift may inspire others to support innovation in the field of veterinary medicine.
“I think that knowing the details of this plan might help make people realize that they can develop whatever program they want within the realities of veterinary medicine," said Duke. "If someone has a special interest that they would like to see realized at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, then they can make it happen," she said.
The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is seeking to raise $15 million as part of the campaign.
Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center is a premier full-service equine hospital located in Leesburg, Va., that offers advanced specialty care, 24-hour emergency treatment and diagnostic services for all ages and breeds of horses. One of three campuses that comprise the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the center and its team of equine specialists are committed to providing exceptional treatment to patients, superior service to clients and cutting-edge research to the equine industry.