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$12M grant establishes Duffield Institute for Animal Behavior


"The institute’s service-dog training program and important behavior research and programming will improve the relationships of service dogs with their handlers and companion animals with their families – helping them to live longer, healthier and happier lives.” – Dave Duffield ’62, MBA ’64. Photo: Provided

Thanks to a new $12.1 million grant from the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, the College of Veterinary Medicine is launching a new institute focused on companion animal behavior that will serve as a one-of-a-kind resource for veterinarians and pet owners nationwide.

The Duffield Institute for Animal Behavior will build on the college’s globally recognized academic, research, clinical and outreach programs to advance understanding of animal behavior and well-being – with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of companion animals and their caretakers.

In addition to endowing the Duffield Institute, the Duffield Foundation will create the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Professorship to provide critical leadership for its work. The foundation will also support the creation of a summer program for service-dog trainers that will establish and share best practices in the training and care of service dogs, to help address the nationwide shortage of both trainers and dogs to assist veterans and others in need. Finally, the Duffield Institute endowment will provide for faculty leadership, clinical residencies and research grants for discoveries related to animal behavior.

“The new Duffield Institute and Duffield Professorship in Veterinary Medicine will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of companion animals and of the humans whose lives they enrich,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “I’m so glad that Dave and Cheryl Duffield have chosen to extend their already extraordinary support of Cornell in this way, and strengthen the university’s position as a leader in understanding animal behavior and health.”

“This generous gift from Dave and Cheryl Duffield is an exciting new step for the College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Lorin D. Warnick, D.V.M., Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “This support allows our faculty to deepen and broaden their work in the important areas of animal behavior and the human-animal bond, and will bring additional expertise to the college. We are extremely grateful for the positive impact their gift will have on animal health.”

“We are honored to partner with Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine on this endeavor as it ties together the two main focuses of the Foundation: aiding veterans and animal welfare," said Dave Duffield ’62, MBA ’64, founder of the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation. “It’s extraordinary to be able to enhance the lives of our nation’s veterans, who have served us, by providing service-dog training programs that will serve them. Combined, the institute’s service-dog training program and important behavior research and programming will improve the relationships of service dogs with their handlers and companion animals with their families – helping them to live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

The Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation is a private charitable foundation established by the Duffields, who are also the founders of Maddie’s Fund.

The Duffields’ philanthropy to Cornell also includes support for Duffield Hall – one of the nation’s most sophisticated research and teaching facilities for nanoscale science and engineering.

A prolific Cornell engineer, innovator and entrepreneur, Dave Duffield has founded six companies over the last five decades, including PeopleSoft and Workday. His latest venture, Ridgeline, is an enterprise software company building an industry cloud platform for investment management. He was honored as the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year in 1996 and the inaugural recipient of the Cornell Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018.

Behavioral issues are a leading cause of U.S. pet owners relinquishing their dogs and cats to animal shelters. The new Duffield Institute for Animal Behavior will serve as a trusted resource for veterinarians, service dog organizations and pet owners through furthering the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of behavior disorders in companion and service animals through teaching, research, service and outreach.

Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts

This story also appears in the Cornell Chronicle