MSU veterinary critical care unit to be named in honor of Matilda Wilson

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Sep 12, 2003

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A new addition to the Michigan State University Veterinary Clinical Center that will provide critical care for horses will be named in honor of a former MSU trustee whose foundation has donated $5 million to the center.

At its Sept. 12 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees voted to name the center "The Matilda R. Wilson 'Pegasus' Critical Care Center." Wilson served on the university's board of trustees from 1931 through 1937. Pegasus was the name of one of her favorite harness ponies.

When completed, the center will allow the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine to provide state-of-the-art critical care to horses and foals with infectious diseases, research and student teaching in an approximately 13,000-square-foot facility.

"Newly emerging infectious diseases are a major threat to horses and farm animals, as well as humans," said Lonnie King, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Neonatal foals are particularly susceptible to these diseases and often succumb to their effects."

Among the features of the center: a specialized ventilation system that will prevent the spread of infectious diseases; modern manure disposal facilities; eight individual isolation stalls; and on-site clinical pathology laboratories.

Total cost for construction of the facility is approximately $3 million. The remaining $2 million will endow two "Wilson Scholars" - residents who will care for these critically ill animals. It also will help fund a new College of Veterinary Medicine educational program on the specialized care of critically ill farm animals.

The new center will be located in the southwest corner of the existing Veterinary Clinical Center, with close proximity to the Equine Performance Center.

"This new center will complement our newly established Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases," said King. "With the world continuing to 'shrink' and with nearly 70 percent of emerging diseases able to pass from animal to human, this will be a critical part of our mission."

Wilson left the bulk of her estate to the Matilda R. Wilson Fund, which has supported a number of projects in the College of Veterinary Medicine, including the Matilda R. Wilson Chair, which is held by N. Edward Robinson, a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

In addition, MSU has honored the Wilson family by naming residence halls - Wilson East and Wilson West - and a thoroughfare - Wilson Road - after them.