A Love of Horses Leads to a Legacy of Equine Research
Posted February 16, 2015
Ask anyone who knew
her, and they would tell you that Patsy Link had a deep love of
horses beginning in her early childhood. Working with horses was a
central part of her life and a source of great happiness for her.
This love of horses led Link to leave much of her estate to Texas
A&M University to support research benefitting equine health
and welfare. The endowed gift that bears her name—the Patsy Link
Endowment, now in its 20th year—has funded more than $6.5 million
in equine-related research that has advanced the knowledge of
The endowment, which began in 1995, was a cooperative effort
between the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine &
Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and the College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences (COALS). Under the direction of Dr. Bryan Johnson of COALS
and Dr. William Moyer of the CVM, a plan was put into place to
ensure that Link’s passion for horses was reflected in the
excellence and impact of the research programming her endowment
Born Helen Patricia Link to Helen Wicks and John Wiley Link Jr.,
an insurance agent, Link grew up as an only child in the River Oaks
community of Houston. Her grandfather, John Wiley Link Sr., formed
and became president of Link Oil Corporation and was later
president of the Dr Pepper parent company. Link learned early on
about horses and horse care, and the purchase of a saddlebred mare
led to the start of her own horse farm near Burton, Texas.
“Patsy started off with the one saddlebred mare,” recalled Dr.
H.A. Smith, a veterinarian in Brenham, Texas. “It wasn’t long
before her friends in the Thoroughbred world got her involved with
that breed. She raced some of her horses, trained some, and had
some really nice brood mares.” Smith provided veterinary care for
Link’s horses for many years. He recalls that Link’s love for
horses was evident in how well she cared for them.
“There were some occasions where we needed to send her horses to
the teaching hospital at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences for specialized services,” Smith
said. “She was always very satisfied with the treatment her horses
Link died on March 16, 1994, shortly after being diagnosed with
a cancerous brain tumor at age 65. Beforehand, she had ensured her
beloved horses would be provided for.
“It was her wish that a part of the estate would cover the care
of her horses until they could be sold or otherwise cared for,”
Smith said. “The remainder was given to Texas A&M in the form
of an endowment to support the equine research programs there, an
endeavor she found important.”
“Patsy Link’s love of horses has led to an incredible
opportunity to provide funding for leading-edge research that
directly benefits the health and welfare of the horse,” said Dr.
Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
“The researchers who have received funding from the Patsy Link
Endowment are undoubtedly as passionate about horses as she was,
and are driven to discoveries that impact horses and the entire
equine industry. We have seen tremendous success in our equine
research programs that would not have been possible without the
legacy that Patsy Link established 20 years ago through her
What began as a child’s love of horses has engendered a legacy
of research to help ensure equine health and well-being.
Established 20 years ago, the Patsy Link Endowment has fostered
programs of research and education in equine reproduction,
genomics, epidemiology and infectious disease, and more. Along with
the strengths of the faculty, a dedicated scientific advisory
committee has contributed to the successes achieved. The college
remains grateful to Patsy Link for the endowment and looks forward
to all it will continue to support in the years ahead.
Read the full article in the Winter 2015 edition of CVM
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