Dr. Patricia Mapps, V’96, was an executive in the technology industry before her second career — and true calling — as a large animal veterinarian.
“I had a ‘midlife crisis’ and would complain to friends about the corporate world,” she said. “They’d ask what I had wanted to do as a kid. I’d say ‘well, I really wanted to be a veterinarian, but I’m too old now.’ Jeff heard me say it and encouraged me to call Penn Vet.”
Jeff is Lorin Jeffry (“Jeff”) Randall, Mapps’s husband of 39 years: “This was obviously something Pat wanted to do — I thought she should at least inquire about the process.”
Mapps made the call, ushering in her next career phase. “I was 44 when I started at Penn Vet, 48 when I graduated,” she said.
She would go on to work in a private practice before starting her own solo practice, which she ran for 15 years before retiring in 2019.
Transitioning from a high-level corporate job to starting over as a student and then small business owner was a welcome change — especially with her new job’s “non-cash compensation of driving through beautiful farmlands rather than sitting in an office all day.”
It would have been a different kind of challenge with student loan debt.
“I was very fortunate to have savings,” Mapps explained. “Jeff and I had really good professional jobs, and I was able to pay my way through vet school, which is so unusual. I didn’t graduate worried about debt.”
This fortunate circumstance influenced Mapps and Randall’s giving through a Donor Advised Fund they set-up in the early aughts.
Gifts That Matter Now
While Mapps established herself as a field veterinarian, she and Randall, longtime donors to institutions they care about, were also expanding their philanthropic priorities to include Penn Vet.
“We’ve always given to a fairly diverse and pretty long list of organizations in some way,” said Randall, who serves on numerous corporate boards after a career spanning financial and operating roles in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.
For Penn Vet, they began with “smaller” annual fund gifts. Their first larger gift was providing for the School in their estate plans.
“A few years ago, we realized we wanted to have the satisfaction of being generous while we’re still alive,” Randall said.
For visible effect, the couple turned to scholarships. “As a grad, I want the School to get the best people,” Mapps said. “It’s hard for almost anybody to easily afford vet school, and there are a lot of really smart, dedicated kids who could go if the money were available to them.”
“But we had no idea how much money it would take,” said Randall. “Once we realized we didn’t have to be multimillionaires to endow a scholarship, we thought, ‘Oh, we can do that! Let’s do that. Let’s help a student along.’”
Two years ago, they established the Patricia J. Mapps, V’96 and Lorin J. Randall Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Supporting an ‘Exciting Time’
The scholarship was awarded for the first time this year to Katelyn Newcamp, V’22, a dual degree student with Penn’s School of Nursing.
“I still cannot believe that I am a third-year student and have the white coat hanging in my closet,” said Newcamp in a letter to Mapps and Randall. “In a few short months, I will be entering clinics and using my newly learned knowledge to care for patients. As I am sure you can remember from veterinary school, it is a very exciting time! I could not be where I am without the incredible support system around me.”
Mapps, who does remember this exciting time of realizing a dream, and Randall, who was by her side through it all, are delighted at Newcamp’s passion. “This is exactly why we wanted to support students,” Randall said.
A Practical Approach to Impact
And they haven’t stopped with scholarships. Wanting to do even more, Mapps and Randall’s most recent gift is equipment at New Bolton Center that will help with laminitis research. “As a former field vet, I’m especially interested in research that is practical,” said Mapps.
Added Randall, “There are so many ways to give. We get great satisfaction seeing the impact in our lifetime.”