In November, the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) lost a long-standing friend and family member with the passing of Morrie Waud.
For more than two decades, Waud was a treasured client and donor to the SVM, advancing equine health, student scholarships, and the school’s overall success through unparalleled generosity. But more than that, he was a beloved member of the collective SVM family, making tremendous efforts to support the school’s dedicated veterinary medical students and even going so far as to “walk a mile in their shoes,” following along with the Class of 2015 as they navigated the rigorous demands of earning a doctorate of veterinary medicine.
Waud’s relationship with the SVM began in the late 1990s when he sought treatment for one of his horses at UW Veterinary Care. A lifelong lover of all things equine, he raised Belgian and Suffolk draft horses on his farm near Long Grove, Illinois.
Always impressed by the expertise and compassion of his veterinary care team at UW Veterinary Care, Waud’s philanthropic passion was ignited. He established the Fund for Excellence in Equine Health to benefit the School of Veterinary Medicine’s large animal hospital and its equine medicine, surgery, and teaching programs. In particular, he wanted to help the hospital purchase equipment that would advance large animal medicine. This fund has supported the procurement of modern ultrasound equipment and other new and innovative technologies.
“I will always remember Morrie for his support, friendship, gentle laugh, graciousness, and truly kind soul. He was my guardian angel, as is evidenced by the angel wings that hang in my office — a gift from Morrie.” -UW School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Mark D. Markel
During his visits to UW Veterinary Care, Waud saw the SVM’s veterinary medical students hard at work. He witnessed student commitment firsthand and decided he could help once again, establishing a student support fund to benefit student scholarships and activities. Curious about what was required to become a veterinarian in just four short years, he became an honorary member of the Class of 2015, shadowing his classmates from orientation to graduation.
From 2011 onward, Waud graciously provided a range of gifts to each and every DVM student at the school, ranging from gift cards for movies and restaurants to warm blankets to study with to business card holders and a blue coat for fourth-year rotations — gestures of encouragement and pride for the students that he so admired.
In 2016, the SVM was proud to recognize Waud’s longstanding commitment to the school by naming the large animal hospital in his honor.
Most recently, in spring 2017 Waud committed $5 million to match gifts and pledges toward the school’s Animals Need Heroes Too building expansion campaign, presenting special opportunities for SVM students, alumni and their immediate families, faculty, and staff to have a significant impact on this critical campaign. In February 2019, the Morrie Waud Match was completed, generating a total impact of nearly $9 million raised toward the SVM expansion.
Waud’s ongoing generosity and caring spirit have had an immeasurable influence in helping students to succeed, allowing equine patients to prosper, and forging a legacy of support that will drive the school for decades to come.