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CTAHR Meets Hollywood

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 10/28/2014 More stories >>

Dr. Charles Reid is seen here
with his patient Lassie, one of Hollywood’s beloved animal actors.

Dr. Charles Reid is seen here with his patient Lassie, one of Hollywood’s beloved animal actors.

There’s more than one way to get to Hollywood, as CTAHR alumni and supporters show—including veterinary skills and fashion design.

While many aspiring fashionistas see New York as the place to make their mark, there’s nothing to compare with seeing one’s designs gracing a Hollywood star. Fighting Eel founder and Apparel Product Design and Merchandising (now Fashion Design and Merchandising) alumna Lan Chung and her business partner Rona Bennett know the feeling: they count Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria, Hayden Pannettiere, and other celebrities among the enthusiasts of their chic yet wearable designs. It’s all evidence of what an online celebrity fashion boutique describes as “the latest fashion addiction of choice in Hollywood…Fighting Eel.” Lan and fellow UH alumna Rona have expanded their clothing line, established in 2003, to three stores on O‘ahu and recently added a sister line, Ava Sky; they’ve also received numerous accolades and awards, including the Governor’s Fashion Award for Established Designers for 2013.

Rona Bennett and CTAHR alumna Lan
Chung created their clothing company Fighting Eel in 2003.

Rona Bennett and CTAHR alumna Lan Chung created their clothing company Fighting Eel in 2003.

The story of CTAHR supporter and Hollywood veterinarian Charles Reid points to another path toward associating with the stars—four-legged ones, that is. Dr. Reid, a close friend of CTAHR’s early pre-veterinary advisor and Animal Sciences professor Robert M. Nakamura, treated some of the movie industry’s most famous animal actors, including Lassie, Roy Roger’s horse Trigger, and “Francis, the talking mule.” Thanks to his association with CTAHR’s Pre-Veterinary Club and his mentorship of many pre-veterinary students, he established the Charles Reid, DVM Memorial Scholarship in 1979, an endowment that has since provided almost 250 scholarships for pre-veterinary students at UH Mānoa.

Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences alumni Geneva Graef and Jonathan Onaga are the latest recipients of this scholarship, as well as the prestigious Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) State of Hawaii Scholarships—a combined total of almost $300,000 towards their DVM degrees. Geneva is attending Washington State University’s veterinary school, while Jonathan is at Colorado State University’s. The WICHE Scholarship requires that recipients come back to practice one year in Hawai‘i for each year of scholarship support, so Geneva and Jonathan will be returning to the Islands, at least for a while…but perhaps Dr. Reid’s scholarship will inspire a trip to Hollywood, as well!