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TV Personality and Animal Advocate Bob Barker Donates $100,000 to College's Foundation; College Presents New Animal Advocacy Certificate Program Photos Available

CONTACT: Eric Bryant (518) 629-8072,
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Photos Available Photo Gallery Available

Beloved television personality and animal advocate Bob Barker has made a $100,000 donation to the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation. The donation, which creates the Bob Barker Animal Advocacy Fund at the college, supports a growing number of animal law courses taught at the college.

The funding from Barker comes at an opportune time as the college this fall will begin offering a 27-credit certificate program in Animal Advocacy. Those completing the certificate can pursue careers including but not limited to humane law enforcement, animal control, humane education, shelter management, lobbying and policy-making.

The new program will have courses dealing with Animal Cruelty Investigation, Legal Issues for Animal Control, Lobbying and Legislating for Animal Protection, Shelter and Rescue Management and Veterinary Forensics.

Courses related to the legal rights of animals have been very popular with current students since they were first offered at Hudson Valley in 2005. The Lang Fund was established that year to provide for expenses associated with the initial Animal Law course offered through the college's Department of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Public Administration.

According to Valerie Lang, a faculty member who has taught the Animal Law courses for the past five years, the funding will be used to support speakers and grant opportunities for students.

Lang said she's never met the now-retired game show emcee, but Barker's friend Nancy Burnet has corresponded with her frequently and has contributed to the fund in the past. At Barker's urging, Lang was asked to help develop an Animal Ethics undergraduate degree program at Barker's alma mater, Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.

"Bob is passionate about animal cruelty on all levels," Lang said. "He recognizes that education is key to effecting positive change. This generous contribution will make Hudson Valley's program more varied and effective on an even grander scale. "

"We're excited to be the only community college in the nation offering this type of academic certificate program in Animal Advocacy," said Hudson Valley Community College President Drew Matonak. "It's another example of our faculty seeing a need and finding a way to fill it."

"The Animal Advocacy certificate fits perfectly within the other academic programs offered by the Department of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Public Administration," said Department Chair Ann B. Geisendorfer. "The certificate program can be completed on its own or combined with the college's Public Administration A.A.S. degree or Individual Studies A.A.S. degree."

The college has an active Animal Outreach Club, which counts both students and faculty/staff as members. The club's mission is to promote and foster animal welfare locally and globally through the support of animal interest groups. Initiatives include humane education, an Empties for Animals campaign, and other fund-raising efforts. The club has invited several local, regional and national speakers to campus in the past several years, including author and activist Gene Baur, the founder of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen.

Those interested in finding out more about the Animal Advocacy certificate program, can contact the Department of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Public Administration at (518) 629-7342.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 13,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.