Saturday, June 16 is the big multi-class reunion event sponsored by the School of Veterinary Medicine, here in Madison. As an alum, I kind of felt like I should go, but hadn't really articulated my distaste until a friend, who works in the Vet School asked me if I was going. No, I said.
Why, she asked? I said its $58 a person----- plus I don’t have a date, I added! She laughed at my feeble atttempt at humor and told me that my class, the class of ’96, was particularly underrepresented. I said it's $58 per person for hors d'ouveres and a number of "special presentations" (ie, endless speeches). The "gala" is taking place at The Edgewater which is a swanky hotel and restaurant here in Madison. I asked her if there were any low expense or free events planned. Nope, she said. I feel this would attract more alums than a pretentious “dinner”. Plus, we’re not getting any real entertainment for our $58. No Jerry Seinfeld. No Motor Primitives (famous local band). Not even an Elvis impersonator. Now I would much rather hang out at the Memorial Union with my friends and classmates, swapping stories, laughing (and crying), catching up. You know, being real! Knowing my classmates, I think most of them would enjoy the same.
A big reason the Vet School is holding this gala is to raise money for the Susan Hyland Fund. I think the money is going to be used for scholarships for vet students. A worthy cause. I have no quarrel with that. Dr Hyland did a lot for the school, so I don't really have a problem with that, either. However, I do feel angry that the Vet school is putting so much effort and money into this when they seem un-interested in building up the so-called “indigent fund”. This is a fund that has been available for clients whose pet needs a $400 MRI or an expensive surgery, or a simple consultation with a highly qualified specialist, but can’t afford it. In the words of the Chief of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital: “we haven’t done much with that fund for a long time". Why not? When I spoke with the school’s fund raising person about the fund, she listened politely, but acted like I had a bad case of head lice. Clearly what I was asking was not to be found in her job description.
But instead we’re being asked to spend a lot of money, get dressed up (always difficult for a fashion-challenged person such as myself), then sit at little round tables talking with people we don't know very well. My friend reminded me that the reunion is taking place on Father’s Day weekend, which she thought might explain the low attendance. Fathers Day? I think hanging out with Poodledoc, Jr will be more real. It will certainly be more fun. And..........he won’t care if I get dressed up!