Feb 26, 2021 2:08 PM

Junction City High School graduate receives the inaugural Bowie Scholarship

Posted Feb 26, 2021 2:08 PM

MANHATTAN — A new scholarship that honors the legacy of a renowned alumnus from the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and promotes diversity among future veterinarians is being presented to third-year veterinary student Melissa Riley, Olathe.

Riley, a graduate of Junction City High School, is the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Walter C. Bowie Scholarship. Bowie earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from K-State in 1947 and went on to become a highly respected veterinarian and educator, serving as a longtime dean of the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine. He was one of the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine's first Alumni Fellows, earning the honor in 1993.

"Being selected for this award means a lot to me," Riley said. "It was very unexpected and I am honored that I was chosen. I am thankful to Dr. Bowie's family and the amazing K-State College of Veterinary Medicine administration who considered me for this award. Dr. Bowie made incredible contributions to the veterinary profession and I am extremely glad that I am now able to be a small part of his legacy."

Bonnie Rush, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said Riley is deserving of the recognition.

"As an undergraduate student in animal sciences and industry, Melissa distinguished herself as the 2016 Integrative Organismal Systems Physiology fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Schultz in our Department of Anatomy and Physiology," Rush said. "As a veterinary student, she continues to participate in research and lead activities that strengthen student recruitment and support for others."

Callie Rost, the college's associate dean for admissions, calls Riley a great representative of the college.

"She is the president of Vet Med ROCKS recruitment and outreach club, a student group that hosts a variety of events and day camps for prospective veterinary students who are currently in middle school, high school and college undergraduate programs," Rost said. "Her leadership makes her a worthy recipient of this prestigious scholarship."

Riley also is an active member in VOICE, which stands for Veterinarians for One Inclusive Community for Empowerment. The club is tasked with making a difference in the inclusive and equitable environment at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine.

In March 1947, Bowie joined the faculty at Tuskegee University, which was then known as the Tuskegee Institute. He served as a teacher, research scientist, head of the physiology and pharmacology department and associate dean for academic affairs until he was appointed to succeed Dean T.S. Williams, who earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from K-State in 1935, in 1972 and served until his retirement in 1990. Bowie died in October 2009.

By Joe Montgomery