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Texas Tech gets go-ahead for new veterinary school

More than $17 million in state funding will be spent on curriculum development, faculty recruitment and other needs.

Texas Tech gets go-ahead for new veterinary school
An artist’s rendering of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine.

Texas Tech University is on track to open the School of Veterinary Medicine after Gov. Greg Abbott approved a state budget containing $17.35 million in initial funding.

The DVM program could enroll its first 60-student class in fall 2021 if remaining hurdles are cleared and public and private funding holds up. Texas Tech reported that “donors and civic leaders” have pledged $90 million toward the program, which would be established in Amarillo at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

The program is subject to the approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a decision that could come by year’s end.

The state Legislature allocated $17.35 million so that Texas Tech can begin designing a veterinary curriculum, recruit faculty members and take other steps toward earning program accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education.

Administrators have promoted the School of Veterinary Medicine as a solution for veterinarian shortages in parts of Texas and especially in large animal practice.

“The Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine represents a historic opportunity to serve the needs of our state and reflects the efforts of many people, who recognized a significant veterinary need in Texas and supported this important initiative,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, MS, Ph.D.

The university stated that the program will target “students who will most likely practice and succeed in rural communities.”

“Also, in order to keep student debt down, the model eliminates the need for a costly teaching hospital and, instead, places veterinary students in cooperative rural practices to provide clinical learning through collaboration,” Texas Tech added.

The University of Arizona is farther along with plans to open a veterinary college. The Tucson campus could welcome students as early as fall 2020.

AVMA Council on Education members conducted a comprehensive site visit at Arizona in mid-May.

“We do not know the outcome of the visit related to our Letter of Reasonable Assurance until the AVMA COE meets in late September,” said Julie Funk, DVM, MS, Ph.D., dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “So, we continue to do the work of developing the college and look forward to the AVMA COE decision in September.”

DVM programs at Arizona and Texas Tech would become the 31st and 32nd in the United States.