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Charitable Trust boosts Cummings scholarship fund

About them

When their beloved nine-year-old dog Tamouska was gravely ill, John and Alma Wilkinson-Heap of Winchester, Mass., were referred by their veterinarian, Dr. Susan Kelly, V88, to the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton. The emergency team there saved their beloved pet's life, and the Wilkinson-Heaps were tremendously grateful. "It was like saving our child," said Mr. Wilkinson-Heap, who noted Tamouska went on to live eight more years, to the age of 17, thanks to the dedication and compassion of the veterinarians at the Foster Hospital.

About their gift

Before his wife passed away four years ago, Mr. Wilkinson-Heap said, the couple discussed leaving their estate to the Cummings School. "We didn't want our names on some park bench," says Wilkinson-Heap, 83, now living in Sarasota, Fla. "We wanted to create a fund that would go on in perpetuity."

This past winter the retired consultant made it official: his planned gift of approximately $2 million will endow the John and Alma Wilkinson-Heap Scholarship at the Cummings School. The gift, consisting of a commitment under a revocable trust as well as the proceeds of IRA and brokerage accounts, also will support the Foster Hospital.

Why Tufts

"I know what a financial struggle it was for me to get my degree," he says. "My hope is that this gift will ease the burden, and encourage more people to become veterinarians."