WSU Alumni Give Back to a School that Gave Them Everything

Driving around the Santa Cruz hills in his old truck with a California license plate that reads “WSU DVM,” Kyle Frandle is reminded how it all started. Kyle (’74 BS, ’76 MS, ’80 DVM) met his wife Kathy (’74 BA, ’75 MA) when they were both juniors at WSU. He was working on a biology degree, she was studying elementary education.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better experience at WSU,” says Kyle who has now been married to Kathy for 38 years.

Kathy and Kyle Frandle

After earning his DVM in 1980, Kyle interned in Santa Cruz, California, and then bought his practice in nearby Los Gatos. Over the years it has grown into a thriving practice. Crediting much of his success to his time at WSU, Kyle wanted to give back to the school and community that meant so much to his family. So becoming a facilitator for the Diagnostic Challenges seemed like a perfect fit.

“When Steve Hines asked me to be a facilitator for the Diagnostic Challenges, I was thrilled to do it,” says Kyle, who has come back since 2000. “Working with students recharges my batteries.”

The Diagnostic Challenges are case-based exercises that give students the opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world challenges. Students diagnose patients and work with volunteer clients in a simulated setting, similar to what they will experience one day in their own practice.

“It is an amazing program,” says Kyle. “Young people get presented with different situations and challenges.” They also practice their communication skills, which Kyle believes are as important as strong medical skills. “Students get insight about what tools they need to truly be successful,” he says.

Besides working with students every year, Kyle also serves on the WSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Board of Trustee members volunteer their time to assist on Foundation committees and to build relationships with prospective donors. One project dear to Kyle is to find supporters for the WSU Rabies Program in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. Each year more than 55,000 people die from rabies and many are children.

“I’m spreading the word in the veterinary community and with industry groups because it cannot be supported by academic funding alone,” he says.

On a recent trip to east Africa with Allen School researchers, Kyle learned firsthand the impact that is being made. Community interviewers travel by bicycle visiting homes in Asembo, Kenya to learn how animal and human disease impacts a family’s health, access to education, and economic wellbeing as part of a survey launched in February 2013.

“I was really struck by the community volunteers and how really devoted they were to families,” he says.

Maasai, in northern Tanzania.
Kyle Frandle gave this gentleman,
a Maasai from northern Tanzania, a WSU
hat after he helped them get their Land
Rover unstuck. 

Because of their strong commitment to WSU, Kyle and Kathy also wanted to help students in ways that would touch their lives directly. Remembering the challenges of being non-traditional students, they started a scholarship to help young couples like them. The Frandle Family Scholarship is awarded to veterinary students at WSU who are married or in a committed relationship and have a financial need.

“We look back at our married time in school fondly,” says Kyle. “But we know how hard it can be as well.” Both worked extra jobs on weekends and at harvest time to help make ends meet.

“We hope the scholarship will help ease the hardship for a married or committed couple during their time together as veterinary students at WSU,” says Kyle. “We have a strong commitment to the University. It gave us everything we needed to be successful.”