Raptors have always served as a collective barometer of ecological health, and in recent decades, the news is increasingly concerning. Loss of habitat, disturbances in food availability, poisonings, emerging diseases, interactions with human-made structures (such as wind turbines), and other challenges are seriously affecting raptors—and sending an environmental wake-up call.
As the global leader in raptor medicine and conservation, no institution is better equipped to identify and help address these challenges than The Raptor Center (TRC). Every year, the center admits almost 1,000 sick and injured raptors, trains veterinary students from around the globe, and reaches approximately 150,000 people through educational offerings. TRC also leverages the powerful data gathered from the raptors that come into the clinic to learn more about our shared world and how we can all protect and sustain it.
This focus on the increasing intersection of humans and wildlife and what it means for all species is driving TRC’s next ambitious undertaking—endowing the Patrick T. Redig Chair in Raptor and Ecosystem Health.
Endowed chairs play an invaluable role at colleges and universities, providing a perpetual source of income for supporting academic endeavor and attracting top talent. The Redig Chair—a first for TRC and the only chair of its kind in the world— will permanently support our work in raptor and ecosystem health, ensuring the center’s future and growing impact on environmental issues.
The generosity of Douglas and Wendy Dayton, who made the two largest gifts to fund the chair, paved the way for its becoming a reality. “The effort began in 1999 when they made a lead gift to create a professorship in Redig’s honor,” says Executive Director Julia Ponder, DVM, MPH, referring to TRC’s recently retired co-founder and longtime leader. “After Doug’s passing in 2013, Wendy made a second gift. The plan now is to transform the professorship into an endowed chair.”
To date, 87 donors have contributed to the chair and the minimum goal has been raised. “We’re looking for a leader with a unique vision to further Redig’s legacy,” says Ponder. “An international search has just begun.”
Regardless of when that happens, one thing is certain: With the generous support of our community of donors, the Patrick T. Redig Chair will power TRC’s flight for decades to come.
To contribute to the Patrick T. Redig Endowed Chair in Raptor and Ecosystem Health, please contact Ellen Ordorf at 612-624-8457 or [email protected]