Hospital renovation project gets a boost from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund and Engen Family

Cummings School needs to raise additional $2.2 million to begin renovation

NORTH GRAFTON, Mass. (January 27, 2014)—Within a month of receiving a challenge grant aimed at supporting the renovation and expansion of one of its teaching hospitals, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has raised 50 percent of the funds needed to be awarded the challenge money because of a generous $2.5 million donation from a Connecticut couple.

The campaign to renovate the Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals, which was launched last spring, received an important boost from a 2:1 challenge gift given by the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund in December. The Cummings School must raise $5 million by the end of 2014 to receive a $2.5 million donation from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, an independent private foundation dedicated to continuing its namesake’s philanthropy.

That goal came closer into view this month with a $2.5 million gift given to the school from Travis and Anne Engen. The Engens, hospital clients and long-time supporters of the school, were motivated to contribute to the renovation because of personal experiences with their Tufts veterinarians. They have previously contributed to other hospital programs.

“The Engen family and trustees of the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund understand what the hospital renovation will mean for us and truly value the school’s mission of clinical service, teaching and research,” said Deborah T. Kochevar, D.V.M, Ph.D., dean of the Cummings School. “With their support, the Cummings School is now much closer to obtaining the funding needed to start Phase I construction and we hope to be able to do that soon with continued support from the community.”

Phase I of the renovation project is projected to cost $8 million and will increase the number of state-of-the-art examination rooms; create larger treatment rooms for specialty services in ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology and dermatology which will reduce client wait times for such specialized care; and develop new areas in the hospital that are central to clients’ comfort.

The Foster Hospital was built in 1985 to provide care to an estimated 12,000 cats, dogs and other companion animals annually.  The hospital treated 28,000 patients last year and that number is expected to grow by 4,000 cases.  The 30-year-old building is at capacity and renovations are needed to continue to deliver the best in patient care and client service.

“The renovation is not about bricks and mortar. It’s about what happens inside: medical innovation and education, enhancing our care and maintaining high standards of quality for our patients and their owners. We are thrilled that the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund and the Engens are partnering with us to make this vision a reality,” said Virginia Rentko, V.M.D., medical director of the Cummings Foster Hospital for Small Animals and the Large Animal Hospital.

Including the recent gifts and money raised in 2013, the school needs $2,262,500 to meet the challenge and begin Phase I construction. Improvements to the Foster Hospital are part of a longer-term Master Plan that envisions reshaping Tufts Veterinary Hospitals into the Northeast’s most advanced treatment and education center by also adding new facilities such as an Equine Sports Medicine Complex at the Large Animal Hospital. The total cost of the Master Plan is approximately $65 million in current dollars.

Anyone interested in learning more about the hospital renovation is encouraged to contact Ana Alvarado, senior director of development, at (508) 839-7905 or



About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, Mass., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is internationally esteemed for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; three hospitals and four clinics that combined log more than 80,000 animal cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public, and environmental health.






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