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Texas Tech plans 2021 opening of veterinary school

Supporters celebrate a symbolic groundbreaking for a program that hopes to eventually earn COE accreditation.

Texas Tech plans 2021 opening of veterinary school
An artist’s rendering of the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo. The two-story academic building will consist of two learning wings.

Texas Tech University has broken ground on a 185,000-square-foot academic building in Amarillo that is expected to become the centerpiece of a veterinary medicine program starting in fall 2021.

The achievement is part of a fast-track effort to launch a DVM program focused on rural and large-animal medicine, a service that administrators say is lacking in livestock-rich West Texas.

“Because of the support of so many, the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine will be able to provide students greater access to affordable and innovative education that will prepare them to serve the people of our state, especially those in rural areas, and the large-animal industry that is so important to the state and especially West Texas,” said university President Lawrence Schovanec, MS, Ph.D.

The School of Veterinary Medicine has the backing of state lawmakers, who provided $17.35 million in initial funding, as well as donors and civic leaders, whom Texas Tech reported have pledged more than $90 million toward infrastructure, construction and scholarships.

Texas Tech is forging ahead with the project in the absence of accreditation from the Council on Education. The American Veterinary Medical Association body conducted a consultative visit in April 2019 and is scheduled to make a comprehensive visit in early 2020.

If the program opens on schedule in 2021, it will welcome a founding class of 60 students, who will be taught on the main campus in Amarillo and at large-animal facilities called the School of Veterinary Medicine Mariposa Station.

Texas A&M has begun advertising faculty positions. Postings on the AVMA job board show 19 openings for assistant professors, associate professors or professors.

Another startup program, at the University of Arizona, plans to open its doors to students in August 2020 and is anticipating the Council on Education’s issuance of a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation.