I’m sure it never crossed the mind of the doctors and nurses at the veterinary hospital at the University of California, Davis, that their skilled and compassionate treatment of a feline patient would one day result in a massive financial gift to the organization that supported them.
Ten years ago, Maxine Adler’s cat, Du Bee, developed cancer. In hopes of getting the very best care for her beloved companion, she brought him to the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
Although Du Bee’s cancer eventually proved fatal, the care he received clearly made an impression on Adler, because she bequeathed more than $7.6 million to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
The gift, made in Du Bee’s memory, is one of the largest single donations in the school’s history. The five funds established with the gift are focused primarily on cancer research. The Du Bee Cancer Research Award Endowed Fund will give out a Du Bee Award each year to scientists who make breakthroughs in cancer treatment for companion animals. One stipulation is that any cancer drug discovered is to have Du Bee in its name. Sure, this seems silly — but then again, if you give seven and a half million bucks to a school, you could demand that the drug has the phrase “Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptangya Ziiinnggggggg Ni!” in its name and the recipients would probably be like, “Okay, we’re cool with that.”
Adler’s estate also established two endowed chairs in animal oncology and genetics, positions that will help UC Davis bring top-tier researchers to the school.
“This is a very competitive world,” says Kelly Nimtz, a retired UC Davis executive who worked with Adler for nearly 20 years. “If you want the best feline researchers, you have to be able to guarantee them a resource base that would exceed what they might have anywhere else. You want the stars, and thanks to Maxine and her generosity, we will be able to attract them.”
Other endowed funds in Adler’s name will support a graduate fellowship and research to improve conditions at animal shelters.