Her interest in animals started early, learning to ride horses and care for their injuries. However, it was a personal and heartbreaking experience that settled her decision to pursue an education in veterinary medicine.
"It was putting my horse down—Denahli—who was only eight years old. He had cancerous lumps on his jaw, which is a melanoma tumor common among grey horses," she explained. "He was my first horse and the one I had the strongest connection with. It was like losing a part of me…he was my best friend." She added, "That solidified the thought of becoming a veterinarian because I couldn't do anything to help him with the pain."
Olivia set her sights on the University of Saskatchewan. It had everything she desired: a dedicated animal bioscience program and a veterinary medicine college, that together, focus on a range of animals, from farm animals to domestic pets.
Olivia Carolan received financial support to enter the College of Agriculture and Bioresources' Animal Biosciences program when she was awarded the Peter Lewochko Bursary (Photo: David Stobbe / stobbephoto.ca).
Although she knew the U of S was the right place for her, she was unsure it was possible due to financial constraints. She elaborated, "I was thrilled upon my acceptance to the U of S but was burdened by the cost. I knew I would not be able to attend, and decided to go to a local university that was more affordable. But I still felt a nagging sense of disappointment that I could not attend the U of S."
It was a U of S donor that changed everything for Olivia. She received much-needed financial support to enter the College of Agriculture and Bioresources' Animal Bioscience program when she was awarded the Peter Lewochko Bursary, funded through a bequest gift.
She has fond memories of the moment her family received the news. Olivia explained, "My mom phoned me as I had received a package from the U of S. She opened it up right away and immediately started crying. She said, ‘Oh Olivia— they have given you a bursary for all of your tuition and books! You can go to the school you really want to go to!'" Olivia said she was thrilled.
Now in the third year of her undergraduate program, Olivia hopes to be accepted in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in the next two years. Her ultimate career goal is to assist pet owners in making health and nutrition decisions and reduce animal suffering.
"Without receiving this award, I would not be where I am today," revealed Olivia. "It gives me immense joy that I can be here today and set my sights and aspirations even higher."
If you would like to support students like Olivia through a gift in your Will, please contact:
Director of Gift Planning
Phone: (306) 966-2416
Written by Jessica Elfar