(Edited press release)
A $3 million gift from Roy and Gretchen Jackson, owners of Barbaro, will endow a chair in the name of Dr. Dean Richardson at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.
In acknowledging the gift, Penn president Amy Gutmann said, "Gretchen and Roy Jackson have already done so much for veterinary medicine through their commitment to giving Barbaro every possible opportunity to recover from his catastrophic injuries. People throughout the world now understand that veterinary medicine--and Penn veterinary medicine in particular--shares in the advances that define today's biomedical science. Now, with this generous gift, the Jacksons not only promote continued progress, but they pay tribute to the doctor who, like them, gave his heart to a magnificent horse."
"This endowed chair is a strong recognition of the power of translating fundamental scientific advances into new real world treatments," said Joan Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn dean of veterinary medicine. "With a new faculty position dedicated to the study of equine disease, we will be better positioned to fight deadly conditions like laminitis."
The endowed chair is the cornerstone of a major new Penn Vet initiative to fight laminitis, which afflicted Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro. The laminitis initiative will foster training programs and studies for new treatments of equine diseases.
"We are very pleased to make this commitment in support of the School of Veterinary Medicine's research of equine diseases," said Gretchen Jackson. "Our close relationship with Dr. Richardson over the last eight months persuaded us to name the chair in his honor. We are indeed grateful to him, and we especially look forward to a future without laminitis."
The Jacksons have a long and close connection with the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Both are Penn graduates and have been dedicated supporters of the school's athletic, medicine, and veterinary programs for many years. In addition, Gretchen Jackson serves on the Penn Vet Board of Overseers.
"I am deeply honored by this generous and important gift," said Richardson, chief of surgery at Penn's George D. Widener Hospital and leader of the team that treated Barbaro. "The Jacksons' remarkable philanthropy will translate into better outcomes for injured and ill horses in the future."