One of the most exciting things about the veterinary college is the constant growth and expansion of not only its facilities, but also its educational programs. The Master of Public Health program in the Department of Population Health Sciences is a relatively new program that expands degree opportunities for students wanting to pursue careers in public health. This program focuses on the college’s One Health initiative, which centers on bringing veterinarians, physicians, and other scientists together to address public health threats affecting people, animals, and the environment.

David and Sheryl Aday, of Williamsburg, Virginia, recognize the global impact of funding for public health students and have established themselves as leaders in providing scholarship funding for these students in the college. In 2004, they created the Ryan C. Aday Award in memory of their son, Ryan, who was a student at Virginia Tech in what is now known as the Master of Public Health program.

“I just cannot say enough good things about him,” reminisced Kerry Redican, professor of public health administration, program development in health education, comparative health care, and public health systems in the Department of Population Health Sciences. Redican was an influential part of Ryan’s success in the college and went the extra mile to help Ryan graduate after he became ill. “He was an excellent student. In the midst of being ill, his coursework was of consistently high quality,” Redican shared. It was very important to Ryan that he received his degree, and having compassionate faculty members who are invested in their students’ success made that a reality.

Ryan’s relationship with Redican is the spark that initiated the Adays’ support of the college, and they have funded their award every year since. The Adays continue to give to honor Ryan’s memory, and because they understand the growing need for scholarship funding. “I am pleased to see [Ryan’s] legacy live on.” Redican concluded, “In the midst of such a tragedy, we have been able to do something positive, and for that we are very grateful.”