When Philip and Rebecca Deemer brought their border terrier Cubby to the veterinary college in late 2007, they didn’t get the happy ending they wanted. The staff diagnosed Cubby with pancreatic cancer. “We ended up having to put her down there,” said Rebecca Deemer.

The Deemers, of Hot Springs, Virginia, were touched by the sensitivity that the faculty, staff, and students demonstrated. “People were just amazing about the whole situation,” Rebecca recalled. “That really was our first introduction to Virginia Tech veterinary medicine.”

During that initial connection with the college, the Deemers became aware of the financial burden that tuition can present to students. “So Bec and I said to ourselves afterwards, ‘You know, these kids are great,” explained Philip Deemer, a financial advisor. “Maybe we could do something, just kind of set up a small scholarship... just provide a little bit of money to help them out.” The Deemers made a commitment to give over the course of five years.

During that time, the couple made additional trips to the teaching hospital. While the Deemers were in Blacksburg with their dog Boomer for cataract surgery, a vet assistant mentioned to the couple that the veterinarian was making do without having the most up-to-date equipment. Philip and Rebecca had another talk. “Maybe what we really want to do is set up a scholarship on a more permanent basis, not just every five years,” the couple decided. “Maybe we really want to do something even beyond that to help with the veterinary school and all the people associated with it.”

Working with the development office, the Deemers set up a bequest to establish an endowment at the veterinary college. Their endowment will sponsor scholarships and provide funding for the teaching hospital to purchase cutting-edge technology, year after year. Although neither of the Deemers are alumni of Virginia Tech, they feel a strong connection with the university. “This isn’t our college,” Philip Deemer said. “But it is our place to go when we need care and where we believe what we’re doing will make a difference. That’s important to us.”