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Ritchie estate plan benefits horses, health, and students

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It was not unlike winning a Triple Crown, when Bob and Kay Ritchie made gifts and a significant recent commitment from their estate to MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine to endow and expand a bright future for horses. Bob (Accounting, ’61; MBA, ’62) and Kay (Human Ecology, ’62) had always planned to leave their estate to charities involved in three areas: education, health and the well-being of animals. So, establishing the Equine Veterinary Medicine Residency Endowment was a triple win, Bob said, since CVM’s equine program promotes all of these. 
The Ritchies initially made a gift to support an equine medicine residency position. Through their estate plans, they have made a charitable bequest to expand the endowment to support multiple equine clinical scholars in the future. 
Horses have been a particular source of joy throughout their marriage, starting when Bob gave Kay her first horse as a Christmas present. His gift not only fulfilled Kay’s childhood dream of horse ownership, but also set into motion a challenging endeavor. Kay became devoted to dressage, the artful and disciplined equestrian sport that trains horse and rider to execute precise movements fluidly and from memory.
The couple has never forgotten that the merit-based tuition scholarships they received to attend MSU provided a life-changing opportunity. They recall their MSU days fondly, including the hard work and discipline needed to succeed. As Bob explains it, Michigan State helped them to hone important personal attributes that have served them well.
Bob’s first job as a golf caddie at the Kent Country Club brought him to MSU through the Evans Scholarship program. He went on to a full career in corporate finance. He and Kay are major benefactors to the Evans Scholars Foundation, recently establishing a named scholarship for outstanding, academically-qualified Grand Rapids caddies to attend MSU. Other beneficiaries of their generosity include the Michigan Humane Society; Horses Haven, a nonprofit care facility for horses and other large animals in Howell, Michigan; and the Arthritis Foundation Michigan Chapter, another meaningful charity to the Ritchies due to a family history with arthritis.  
“Kay and I would never have made it if there were not people who looked out for us and for the opportunity to mature in the friendly atmosphere of MSU,” Bob said. “If we can help others, that is what we want to do as a way to pay back all the joys and benefits we have received in no small part because of MSU.”
For more information about making a gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine, contact Senior Director of Development Susan Halloran at (517) 432-4898; or visit