Posted: June 28, 2023

Jay Hreiz, owner and veterinarian at the Queen City Animal Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, has committed $100,000 from his future estate to the research fund in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.

Jay Hreiz loves to meet other Penn Staters. In fact, when the 2004 animal bioscience graduate has new clients with Pennsylvania area codes at his veterinary practice, he always asks where they’re from, and they often bond over the geographic commonality or their love of the University. Hreiz’s loyalty to Penn State runs deep, and he credits much of his success to his experience and education in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Hreiz, owner and veterinarian at the Queen City Animal Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, has committed $100,000 from his future estate to the research fund in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. This fund pools gifts from donors and supports faculty research efforts, equipment needs, and summer research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, among other priorities.

“Research in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences is focused on understanding the mechanistic basis of disease upon exposure to pathogens or toxins, which is applicable to animals and humans,” said Sandeep Prabhu, professor and department head. “Faculty oversee such high impact research, which also provides a mechanism to train undergraduate and graduate students. Such experiential learning is critical to train future leaders in animal and human medicine. Jay’s generous gift will help us immensely in our mission to continue to support faculty with their research and student training.”

As a Penn State student, Hreiz was active in the Pre-Vet Club, and he also served as vice president of the National Pre-Vet Club. After graduating from Penn State, Hreiz attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He said he believes that he was accepted at most of the schools where he applied because of the breadth of experience he had at Penn State.

“I got an extremely good foundation in science and made connections with a lot of wonderful people,” Hreiz said. “My mentors were really great, especially Dr. Lester Griel, who is an icon in the veterinary medicine field. The foundation you get as an undergrad at Penn State really sets you up to be successful at vet school and in so many other areas.”

After earning his VMD at Penn in 2008, Hreiz moved to North Carolina, where he worked at Ebenezer Animal Hospital in Rock Hill. While it was primarily a hospital for dogs and cats at the time, Hreiz helped bring exotic animals to the practice. A few years later, in 2013, the owner offered Hreiz and the practice manager the opportunity to purchase the hospital. As co-owners, they successfully grew the hospital, received accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association and in 2019 opened a second hospital, Queen City Animal Hospital in Charlotte.

As a veterinarian, Hreiz has seen explosive growth in his field, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. He said there’s a growing need for more veterinarians and research into areas that would benefit the field, which is why he’s passionate about supporting his alma mater. In addition to the future estate gift, Hreiz also funds the Dr. Jay Hreiz, VMD Scholarship, an annual scholarship for students in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.

“I benefited from a scholarship when I was an undergrad, and it was something that made an impact on my life,” Hreiz said. “I have been fortunate enough to be a successful business owner and want to give back to Penn State and ensure future generations are successful as well.”

Hreiz ultimately hopes his gift to the research fund makes a positive impact on his field.

“I hope it sparks new ideas, such as research into areas like virology or bacteriology to help advance our profession,” he said.

Faculty members like Robert Paulson, professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, greatly appreciate the existence of research funds.

“Research funds like the one in our department that Jay’s gift will support are vital for faculty members,” Paulson said. “Money from funds like this can help someone start a new project to generate preliminary data for a grant application. More importantly, federal funding is hard to get, and sometimes you may face a gap in funding for your program. These departmental research funds can bridge those gaps and keep your program going until you obtain a new grant.”

 Another benefit of these funds is their support for groups of faculty members working together.

“Having a little seed money to try experiments and ask questions in a new direction is really helpful, especially in collaborative scenarios,” Paulson said.

Hreiz, who has been giving to Penn State for many years, said he believes supporting this departmental research fund is the best utilization of the resources from his future estate.

“I think Penn State is a great school for teaching people, not only those looking to pursue vet school, but also everything around veterinary medicine,” he said. “Whether they want to get their master’s or doctorate, work in laboratory animal medicine, or go into farm management, I want to empower other people to pursue the opportunities that are out there. If I can help someone change the world, help animals or help others, I want to do that.”

Donors like Hreiz advance the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve and lead. Through philanthropy, alumni and friends are helping students to join the Penn State family and prepare for lifelong success; driving research, outreach and economic development that grow our shared strength and readiness for the future; and increasing the University’s impact for families, patients, and communications across the Commonwealth and around the world. Learn more by visiting

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