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Texas Tech President: Vet school a win for rural Texas, aspiring veterinarians, and livestock industries

By Jessica Domel

It’s not just a victory for Texas Tech University. It’s a win for rural Texas, aspiring veterinarians and the livestock industries.

That’s how Texas Tech President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec describes the Texas Legislature’s approval of more than $17 million to get the state’s second veterinary medicine school established in Amarillo.

“We’re extremely grateful for so many people who worked together to make this possible,” Schovanec said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

The university system raised about $90 million for the teaching facility in Amarillo.

The $17.35 million allocated by the Legislature in the state budget will be used to initiate curriculum design and development, recruit faculty and begin the processes necessary to attain program accreditation.

“This was not really a Texas Tech thing,” Schovanec said. “This was a need that exists statewide. The intention to be more focused on large animal and rural care is particularly relevant to the industry that is so ideally located in Amarillo.”

The degree program proposal was submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in February. The school hopes to hear back in a couple of months.

“We have to hire 32 faculty and veterinarians in the next two years. That’s going to be a challenge. Then, we’re going to break ground on the building in September,” he said.

The university system anticipates the school will open in fall 2021.

The school will recruit and select students who will most likely practice and succeed in rural communities and use a curriculum focused on the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in a rural practice.

According to the university, in order to minimize student debt, 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.

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