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Veterinary center to honor alumna, 'Elvis'

September 11, 1998

Wilson Vet CenterBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: DON AINES




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The new veterinary medical center at Wilson College will be named in honor of an alumna, but one of the kennels will bear the name of Elvis.

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Exterior construction of the 6,000-square-foot building beside the Havens Science Center is nearly complete. The center will house two surgical suites, surgical preparatory and recovery rooms, exercise pens, kennels, and cages for cats and small animals, according to Freya Burnett, acting director of the veterinary medical technology program.

The center will be named in honor of the late Helen M. Beach, thanks to a $75,000 donation from Hope Gentner of Blue Ball, Pa. According to Vice President of Development John Carothers, Beach graduated from Wilson in 1924, and became a lab manager for a major pharmaceutical firm.

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Gentner, a 1936 graduate, was hired by Beach as a researcher at a time when few women worked in the sciences, according to college spokeswoman Amy Wallauer.

Carothers said Gentner's donation got the ball rolling toward raising $140,000 for the $190,000 project. He and his wife contributed $500 in the name of their black Labrador, Elvis.

Studded with porcupine quills, the dog was found under a construction trailer and taken to the Antietam Humane Society in Waynesboro, Pa., Carothers said. The dog was brought to Wilson to be neutered and have his injuries tended to at the center.

Carothers said he adopted the dog after members of the veterinary medical technology program paraded him and other abandoned animals during a homecoming field hockey game a few years ago.

"Besides business and education, it's probably the largest major," Dean of the College Brad Engle said Wednesday of the veterinary medical technology program. He said 26 first-year students enrolled this year through the College of Women, bringing the total there to about 70.

Another 50 are enrolled through Wilson's College for Continuing Education.

Chaelina Duckery, 20, of Havre de Grace, Md., is a senior in the program with a business minor. She's looking toward a career in laboratory research, either at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, or perhaps with DuPont.

With her Doberman pinscher Morgan by her side, Burnett said graduates of the program are in demand.

"They're in academia, in research, small-animal practice, large-animal practice, exotic-animal practice, zoo-animal medicine," she said. Since the program was started in 1981, Burnett said several students have gone on to veterinary school.

To earn a degree, students must take courses in anatomy, diseases and nutrition, pharmacology, parasitology and microbiology. They can take elective courses concentrating on biology or veterinary business management.

"I feel it's the most direct way I can help the animals. I'd like to work here in Pennsylvania, preferably working with a lot of exotics," said Danielle Tremblay, 21, a senior from Queensbury, N.Y. She and Shannon Daniel, 20, a junior from Beckley, W.Va., were checking over Tucker, a yellow Labrador retriever belonging to one of the department's instructors.

Tremblay said she'd like to work with "pocket pets" such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

"I've always wanted to work with animals since I was very little," said Daniel, who checked Tucker over for a bad leg. She's considering going to veterinary school.

Amanda Patton, 21, of Waynesburg, Pa., was an education major at another college. "Animals are a lot more respectful," she said.

"I want to go to vet school and this is a good place to start," said Melissa Bungard, 19, a sophomore from Milton, N.H.

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