William Woods receives $500,000 gift for equine assisted services

A horse and rider are seen at William Woods University in this undated Fulton Sun file photo.

William Woods University announced Tuesday the receipt of a $500,000 donation for the equine assisted services program.

The $500,000 donation aims to fund academic and additional resources for the program, a university release states.

The donation comes from Dale and Pat Hatfield of Longmont, Colorado. They are "longtime advocates of equine assisted therapy through their support of riders, therapists, facilities and horses in the industry."

Dale and Pat were introduced to WWU by Bryan Tramont, who is a WWU Trustee. The Hatfields visited campus soon after.

"We were both elated to be able to provide support for Equestrian Science, Equestrian Assisted Services and related programs at the university," Dale said in a release.

The Hatfields donation will directly support the Pat Hatfield Equine Assisted Services Program. This program includes an expansion to the current equine assisted services concentration, which will be an academic minor for the 2024-25 school year.

The donation will also include a new endowment fund for Pat Hatfield Scholars. According to a release, this fund will "provide financial support for 1-2 stipends per year to support meritorious WWU EAS students during their industry-required internship at EAS providers."

Jeremy Moreland, WWU president, said the program is a "powerful tool that allows individuals with physical, cognitive, behavioral or emotional challenges to find strength, healing and independence."

"The Pat Hatfield Equine Assisted Services Program will allow us to take our nationally-renowned EQS program to even greater heights," Moreland said in a release.