Witt and Brown

Missie Brown, Brown, Witt

By Holly Wiemers, October 2016 Wildcat Canter

Reading from a handwritten set of notes, meaningfully written in purple, Stuart Brown, Lexington-based equine veterinarian and stalwart member of Kentucky’s equine industry, remarked on the life and legacy of his late wife, Christine Comella Brown, and awarded an inaugural scholarship in her name to University of Kentucky Equine Science and Management sophomore Julianna (Julie) Witt. 

Witt, a native of Freehold, New Jersey, is currently a sophomore at UK, double majoring in Animal Science and Equine Science and Management with a pre-veterinary concentration. Witt is a member of the university’s Honors college and will be a Chellgren Student fellow this academic year. She is an officer for UK’s Horse Racing Club, a member of the Pre-Vet and R.E.A.D. clubs, and has had her artwork published in UK’s Literary Magazine, Shale.

Witt preps broodmares and weanlings for James Keogh of Grovendale LLC, is a part-time mare and foal groom for Ashford Stud and volunteers at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a career which combines her passion of horses, particularly the Thoroughbred industry, with a love of science. Julie was awarded $3,500 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

About 60 people attended the Sept. 27 scholarship reception at Spindletop Hall in Lexington honoring Christine, most of them having contributed to the scholarship fund and many wearing purple in a nod to the color associated with Christine and some of her most meaningful equine exploits, from horse shows to cross country courses to the companionship she shared with her treasured horses.

Brown shared with the assembled group the passion Christine had for her many cherished animals and for her UK Wildcats. UK was always the place she wanted to attend school. She unequivocally knew it the moment she first visited Lexington when she was looking at universities, and it was a love that remained from her first steps onto Kentucky’s famed Bluegrass, from attending UK and being a member of the national champion 1990 IHSA Equestrian Team, to following her dreams and working with horses at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

Brown also remarked on how many people had helped Christine on her journey and the scholarship in her name was established to give a leg up to the newest aspiring students who wished to follow their dreams and make a career and life in the heart of the horse world.

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Dean Nancy Cox opened the event and said, “There are many examples of Christine’s memory throughout the Bluegrass, with a memorial path across the road from the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as the purple ribbons at horse shows and many other tributes. Stuart has kept such memories as her legendary kindness to animals alive on social media, and many mornings I have shed a few tears over his posts, and I am not alone. He has spearheaded this scholarship. Stuart, there are not enough words to express our gratitude.”

The Christine Comella Brown Equine Scholarship was established in 2016. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the Equine Science and Management degree program, must have demonstrated financial need and have a minimum GPA of 3.2. Preference is given to students with an interest in a career in veterinary science. Preference is also given to students involved with UK’s Equestrian, Hunt Seat, Dressage or Eventing teams.

Total gifts and pledges to date equal $67,710.83 and Brown’s goal is for the endowment principal to reach $100,000 so that $5,000 could be awarded annually.

luncheon poster