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Veterinary medicine student Lexie Craig’s path to Auburn University began on her family’s farm in rural Kentucky.

As part of a three-generation farming family, Craig has had a lifelong fascination with animals, particularly large animals like horses and cows, that drew her to the veterinary medicine field.

With no in-state vet school in Kentucky, a long-standing contractual agreement between the commonwealth and Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine has opened the doors to more than 2,000 Kentucky residents like Craig to join the Auburn Family.

Because of that agreement, Craig had her eyes on Auburn from the very start of her pre-vet program at Morehead State University in 2018, and she became a member of the Auburn Family in 2022.

Going into her time at Auburn, she had zero expectations when she applied for financial aid. But one day, an email came offering her the Dr. Haywood “Woody” Bellingrath Bartlett, Sr. ’64 Scholarship.

“It seemed too good to be true,” Craig said. “This is what everyone in my situation dreams about. My mom is associated with the school system, and my dad is a farmer who is working four different jobs. I knew vet school was going to be my sole financial responsibility. But then I get this scholarship that’s going to pay my tuition. It felt like a dream.”

That dream was made possible by the late Woody Bartlett, a renowned cowboy and veterinarian who graduated from Auburn in 1964. Bartlett had long hosted Auburn veterinary medicine students at teaching events on his ranch, but he took his support to a new level by creating the scholarship through a planned gift in his estate.

Craig and other scholarship recipients had the chance to meet and thank the Bartlett family at the college’s annual Evening of Gratitude event that connects donors with scholarship recipients.

“We’re so appreciative because we know the Bartlett family didn’t have to do this, so we just want to make them proud,” Craig said. “We want to go forward in our careers and represent Auburn well but also accomplish the goals that Woody wanted and honor his legacy.”

Craig’s objective is to return to Kentucky, which has a critical need for veterinarians, particularly those in the large animal practice. She is especially interested in improving vet safety around large animals.

The expertise she is acquiring at Auburn will help her achieve that. And with the help of the Bartlett scholarship, she can put her full attention to becoming a skilled large animal veterinarian.

“It’s so nice being able to focus on what I learned in anatomy today and not have the thought in the back of my mind, ‘I just borrowed this amount of money, and here comes the interest,’” Craig said. “My tuition is covered.”

For more information about making a planned gift, contact or 334-844-7375.