Donors' Love of Animals to Benefit Veterinary Technology Program at OSU-Oklahoma City
For OSU alumna Lisa Putt and her husband, Kevin, a shared passion for animals, community service, education and all things orange found a home
By Taylor Self
Lisa Putt graduated from OSU in 1982 with a marketing degree. She and her husband, Kevin, have been dedicated supporters of OSU through the years, and they are very active in the Oklahoma City philanthropic community.
One cause especially close to their hearts is a love of animals, particularly the care and treatment of shelter animals. Kevin is board president of Free to Live in Edmond, Oklahoma, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the state. Animals not adopted from Free to Live can live out their lives at the sanctuary.
The Putts aim to give to organizations or institutions that support their beliefs while making an impact on the community.
Over the past 27 years, the Putts have been actively involved with the Stillwater campus. They recently expanded their support after meeting with OSU-OKC President Natalie Shirley and touring the Oklahoma City campus.
“Education is the foundation to a better life, whether it’s for yourself, your family or generations to come,” Kevin says. “OSU-OKC is a legacy for so many families in the Oklahoma City area, and the opportunity the college gives students is really inspiring.”
After taking a campus tour, the Putts were drawn to the Veterinary Technology Program.
OSU-OKC’s Veterinary Technology Program is a vital part of the Agriculture Technologies Division. With small class sizes and a varied curriculum, the program offers students a wealth of hands-on experience across disciplines ranging from dentistry to invasive surgery. This experience isn’t just with domestic animals; OSU-OKC is well-known for working with exotic animals and large animals such as cows or horses. Students learn the basics of their profession and tailor their study toward particular interests, graduating with an associate degree in veterinary technology. This applied science degree allows them to take the state and national registry exams to work in the field of veterinary medicine.
The Putts knew OSU-OKC’s Veterinary Technology Program would make great use of a donation based on its dedication to animals and the academic success of its students.
“We were actually able to attend the fall Veterinary Technology Orientation, and it was incredible to see the support the department gives to those students in terms of financial aid, tutoring, scheduling and class choice,” Lisa says. “You heard over and over again this empowering message of, ‘We want you to be successful.’”
A clear vision from departmental leadership and generous gifts like the one made by the Putts forecast a promising year for the program. OSU-OKC Agriculture Technologies Division Head Shawna McWaters-Khalousi says registered veterinary technicians are in high demand. RVTs act as veterinary nurses, crucial to the care of their animal patients.
To meet this demand and ensure students are given the best academic experience and support, McWaters-Khalousi, in partnership with Dr. Lesa Staubus, interim veterinary technology department head, has supported a shift from lecture-based material to even more experiential training. In this model, reading and lecture material is covered out of the classroom and bolstered by hands-on training during class periods, translating to more time with animals and increased experience for OSU-OKC graduates entering the workforce.
Celeste Alexander, president of the Veterinary Technology Student Association, highlights the importance of these characteristics, saying, “The communication I have with professors and the practical knowledge I have been able to gain have given me the leg up I need to start my career when I graduate.”
Another component of OSU-OKC’s program is the community service connection, which helped bring the Putts to campus and inspired them to offer support. Students have the opportunity to work with animals thanks to partnerships with area shelters. If an animal needs elective spay/neuter surgery, dental work or treatment for an injury, students are able to practice alongside professional veterinary staff and faculty to administer care the animal might not receive otherwise.
“We place a real emphasis on service learning in this program,” Staubus says. “By focusing on how we can help our community while meeting academic requirements, our students are given a more valuable and well-rounded experience."
Because of Kevin’s experience at Free to Live, he found this dedication to serving shelter animals particularly stirring.
“When students work with shelter animals, they are given incredibly practical hands-on experience,” Kevin explains. “It’s mutually beneficial because it helps that pet become healthier and more likely to be adopted rather than euthanized.”
The Putts look forward to continuing their OSU-OKC relationship this year, with Lisa serving as co-chair of the Paint This Town Orange Steering Committee to benefit future OSU-OKC students. Through generosity such as the Putts’, the university is able to open more doors to higher education and enhance career opportunities for students while caring for animals that need a helping hand.
More stories like this are available for members of the OSU Alumni Association. STATE magazine is a benefit of membership in the OSU Alumni Association. To join or update your membership go to orangeconnection.org/join or call 405-744-5368.
Uploaded on May 1, 2016