Nov 262007
Authors: Elden T. Holldorf

CSU’s internationally acclaimed Equine Orthopedic Research Center and one woman’s personal relationship with CSU resulted in a $3 million gift to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The gift will be used to establish a university chair in equine orthopedics.

The donation was made by Hawaii native Abigail K. Kawananako. She is the great grandniece of Hawaii’s last king, David Kalakaua, and Queen Kapiolani. Kawananakoa grew up around horses on an estate where she helped herd cattle on the island of Hawaii.

“She has loved horses all her life,” said James Wright, Kawananakoa’s long-time attorney. “When she was a girl she would ride horses all day and sleep in the fields at night.”

Kawananakoa has bred and raced several champion horses. Kawananakoa’s horses have won both the All American Futurity and the Los Alamitos Million, two of the biggest quarter horse races in the U.S.

Those winning horses also had arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, director of Equine Orthopedic Research and holder of The Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair at CSU. The work done on Kawananakoa’s horses is what has solidified her relationship with CSU.

The Abigail K. Kawananakoa University Chair in Equine Musculoskeletal Integrative Therapies will conduct cutting-edge research backed by scientific evidence, for the development of manipulative ad rehabilitative therapies in horses.

“This gift allows us to add another very talented faculty member to a group of dedicated individuals,” said Dr. Lance Perryman, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The $3 million gift acts as permanent funding to support the position – essentially the chairperson’s salary. The money is locked in an account, from which an annually set amount is withdrawn to provide salary and benefits. The remainder accumulates interest, guaranteeing permanent funding. The set amount is currently set at $135,000 per year but is subject to increase after time.

“That’s the great thing about endowed chairs – it allows you to keep good people in a permanent position,” McIlwraith said.

This chair has not yet been appointed. Once the university has the funding for a chairperson, a tenure track position is created, advertised, and a national search is launched (backed by an appointed search committee).

Horses will not be the only beneficiaries of this gift.

Veterinary medicine in Kawananakoa’s home state will also progress due to a tuition exchange program called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). This program allows students from states without a veterinary program to compete for spots at CSU, with fees paid by their state of residency. Over a third of practicing veterinarians in Hawaii were educated at CSU.

Horses may not be the only group to benefit from this research. Several discoveries made from equine research can be translated into human curative methods. For example, a new cartilage healing technique performed on horses at CSU was recently approved by the FDA for phase one testing on humans.

“This research is based on objective info and documented proof – a horse can’t tell you when it feels better,” McIlwraith said.

This is the second endowed chair in equine programs this semester, and the third in the Orthopedic Research Center.


Faculty and staff – 2006-2007:

218 faculty members

161 research associates

57 administrative and professional staff

275 state-classified support staff

35 residents

59 postdoctoral students

121 graduate assistants

Students – Fall 2006:

638 undergraduates

306 graduate students

534 PVM students

Annual budget: $108 million

Research funding: $54 million

Private donations: $10-12 million annually

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University is ranked as one of the top two veterinary medical schools in the nation, is the top veterinary school receiving federal funding for research programs, and is an internationally ranked center of excellence for education and exploration in the biomedical sciences


/ Great grandniece of Hawaii’s last king, David Kalakaua, and Queen Kapiolani.

/ Heir to a trust set-up by her great-grandfather, James Campbell, valued at more than $2.3 billion

/ Given away over $25 million to date

/ 81 years old

/ No children

/ Strong advocate for the preservation of Hawaiian culture

/ Horse breeder, racer and overall avid horse enthusiast

/ Operates Lakeview Quarter Horse Farm in Southern California and Kennewick Quarter Horse Farm in Washington

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.