Foxes give MU vet school $5 million

Cottrell and Kay Fox, along with their dogs Panda and Rufus, have given a gift of more than $5 million to the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.

A gift of more than $5 million will go toward improving research of cancer-fighting drugs for humans and animals.

The gift to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine came from suburban St. Louis couple, Cottrell and Kay Fox of Town and Country.

Through their gift, the couple wanted to recognize their longtime family veterinarians, James Schuessler and Fred Bendick of St. Louis, who both graduated from the college.

"It gives us a great deal of pleasure to be able to give this gift to the university and the College of Veterinary Medicine as well as honor two great friends and veterinarians in James Schuessler and Fred Bendick," Cottrell Fox said. "Our pets and our family have received great care and benefited a great deal from the important research being done at the university. Kay and I have been touched by cancer in many ways, through family and good friends, and our hope is that this gift will help stimulate more lifesaving research in the future."

The Foxes' gift will support an endowment in companion animal medicine, according to a news release from the university. The gift will also fund research to develop treatments for people and animals with naturally-occurring cancer and will improve training for graduate students and veterinary oncology residents.

Years ago, MU veterinarians used a drug called Samarium, which was developed at the university, to treat the Foxes' family dog. Kay Fox's father was treated for cancer with the same drug years later.

Professor of veterinary oncology Carolyn Henry said the Foxes' gift will be used to develop more effective methods of cancer diagnosis and treatment in both animals and humans.

"This gift will greatly enhance our comparative oncology research abilities," Henry said. "This truly will have an impact on people. What we learn through our comparative oncology work can translate into improved options for cancer care in people. This gift shows the Foxesâ?? recognition of the power of having a â??one healthâ?? approach to medical and scientific discovery and will go a long way in moving our important research forward."