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CVM Alum Personifies an Attitude of Gratitude

Dr. Rick Hovis, Class of 1989.
Dr. Rick Hovis, Class of 1989.

When Rick Hovis received his DVM degree in 1989 from the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, he was part of just the fifth graduating class.

As a newly minted veterinarian, Hovis returned to practice near his hometown of Lowell, N.C., just outside of Gastonia. Even though he was barely six months into his career and just starting his life with his wife, Kelly, Hovis made a $50 donation to his alma mater on Dec. 18, 1989.

“I’ve always gone to church,” said Hovis, “and I was taught to give back.”

Today, Hovis is a partner in the Dickson Animal Clinic in Gastonia, one of three veterinarians in the small animal practice, and has remained close to his roots. He and his wife went to Ashbrook High School, about a half a mile from his office.

The donation to the CVM he made in 1989 was the first of many. In the 30 years since he graduated, Hovis has made 31 different donations to the college.

As Hovis has become firmly established in his career, he has continued giving generously to the CVM. Over the past 30 years, he has donated $13,275. His gifts to funds such as All Gifts Great and Small and to the Teaching Animal Unit, among others, have supported the CVM’s world-class education and animal care.

“NC State was a bargain for a high-quality education when I was there,” Hovis said, “and I think it still is.”

Donations are not the only way Hovis supports the CVM. The newest member of the veterinary team at Dickson Animal Clinic is Ashley Whitesell, a 2014 graduate of the college, and he regards NC State as an excellent place to look toward for future hires.

Hovis also mentors high school students interested in veterinary medicine. He says four students who did job shadowing at the clinic have gone on to become veterinarians. One student, Claire Neinast of the CVM’s Class of 2022, asked Hovis to present her with her first lab coat at the annual White Coat ceremony for first years.

“I appreciate what NC State did for me,” said Hovis. “It made it possible for me to support my family, raise our three kids and give back. That’s what it’s all about.”

A cause for paws… be a part of our #GivingPack on March 27! Your gift supports compassionate care for all animals and hands-on learning for vet students.

~ Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine