A lifetime of caring for animals has led to a new scholarship for students in the Veterinarian Technology program at Great Bay Community College (GBCC), a move the donors say fits their philosophy of giving. Dr. Michael Dutton and Helen Dutton have established the Dutton Family Scholarship Fund at the Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges.
“We have always believed in paying it forward,” Helen Dutton says when reflecting on the scholarship she and her husband established at the Foundation. “We’re thankful that this is something we can do.”
The scholarships will be awarded twice a year to qualifying students who have completed one semester of vet tech studies. Nine students applied for inaugural scholarship and Faith Dittmar and Stephanie Lewis became the first recipients. The Great Bay program is one of only two in the state.
“My goal is to become a certified vet tech, so receiving this scholarship will help me reach that goal,” said Lewis, a Sanbornville, N.H., resident who had a baby in September. “Having a child and going to school is a struggle right now, so this will help me stay in school. I really appreciate receiving this scholarship.”
The Dutton’s opened their first veterinary practice in Weare in 1992. In 2018, they opened a second office in Hopkinton. During the last 30 years, both practices have welcomed student interns and has hired GBCC graduates.
“The field is really struggling right now,” said Dutton. “There aren’t enough techs and most people don’t know what they do. Like nurses, vet techs draw blood, help with x-rays and do so much more.”
Deborah Discher, director of the vet tech program at GBCC, also uses the nursing analogy when describing what students have to know.
“Just like nurses, our students are also trained on what to look for if something goes wrong, such as a drop in blood pressure, and to communicate that to the veterinarian. The number of things vet techs do keeps increasing,” Discher said, adding that Dr. Dutton has guest lectured at GBCC.
“They are very, very generous with their time. They have been big supporters of our program,” Discher continued. “Most of the students in the program work at least part-time, so this scholarship can make a big difference.”
Dutton says the fund results from trying to find where they could have the most impact.
“We’re hoping this scholarship will encourage someone else to do the same thing,” she said. “We want to do as much as we can and if others follow suit, it will double the impact. That’s something we’d really like to see happen.”
The Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges provides greater access to educational opportunities through financial assistance for student scholarships, program development and enhancements to facilities across New Hampshire’s seven community colleges. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from public and private sources to create scholarships and program partnerships that prepare students for in-demand, skilled jobs to meet the needs in the workforce. For more information, please contact Tim Allison at email@example.com
This article was written by Jody Record.
Top image caption (left-to-right): Dr. Michael Dutton, Bryce Beliveau (2019), Daisy Lyford (2018), Helen Dutton and Kubota, a 1.5-year-old yellow lab.