Alumni Tales: Ties that bind

December 12, 2018

When Donald “Don” Opstad, ’60 DVM, passed away unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1982, his death touched classmate Richard “Dick” Olson and Dick’s wife, Delores. In their undergraduate years, Don and Dick were FarmHouse fraternity brothers. Years later, the Olsons’ son was born the morning of Don’s marriage to his wife, Lorraine. “The Opstads were godparents to our son, Davee,” says Dick. “Although the Opstads had moved to southern California, where Don practiced in San Luis Obispo, we kept in contact.”

A few years prior to Don’s passing, Dick had been appointed by some classmates to organize a 20-year class reunion, becoming something of a nucleus to his class as a result. In 1992, 10 years after Don passed away, Dick and some of his classmates came together to establish the Class of 1960 CVM Memorial Scholarship Fund. Dick then spread the word to the rest of his classmates. Since then, many have contributed to the fund, and the Olsons continue to make annual gifts.

In the nearly 27 years since the fund was established, 123 gifts have been made. The class of 1960 has donated more than $90,000 to it, and today the fund’s balance is nearly $125,000. In the last decade, more than $35,000 has been awarded from the fund, giving 22 students the chance to receive scholarships.

For almost three decades, the close-knit class of 1960 has worked together to raise a substantial amount of money for the future of veterinary medicine. “Being such a small class of only 44 grads, many of us got to be good friends during our four years in the College,” says Dick. “Our friendships with our classmates are special.”

After years of commitment to CVM students, the Olsons set up the Dr. Dick and Delores Olson Scholarship last year while continuing to support the Class of 1960 CVM Memorial Scholarship.

The College would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to committed donors Robert and Barbara Nelson, Perry J. and Barbara Gehring, Ken and Jean Johnson, Gary and Elaine Sampson, and other classmates and friends whose generous and consistent contributions to the Class of 1960 CVM Memorial Scholarship Fund have substantially helped to make veterinary education possible for dozens of students over the years.