With the funding in place and the ground broken for the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, the curriculum and faculty are starting to take shape.
Dean Guy Loneragan announced today (Oct. 30) the hiring of Dr. John Dascanio to serve as the senior associate dean for the School of Veterinary Medicine. In his role, Dr. Dascanio will oversee the curriculum and student support services while overseeing the faculty and its development.
"I am excited to work with a great team here at Texas Tech University and the people of Amarillo to bring affordable and accessible veterinary education to the Panhandle and beyond," Dr. Dascanio said. "We are creating an innovative program, in partnership with local veterinarians and constituents, to educate practice-ready veterinarians with a focus on rural and regional communities."
Dr. Dascanio comes to Texas Tech after serving as the executive associate dean for the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists (ACT), serving as the current vice president. ACT is a specialty organization recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in certifying veterinarians as specialists in Theriogenology, or veterinary reproduction. Dr. Dascanio was named the 2018 Theriogenologist of the Year by ACT and also holds diplomate status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Equine Specialty.
He earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, completing his internship and residency at Cornell University.
Prior to his time with ACT, Dr. Dascanio helped develop and lead the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine through a successful accreditation process, serving as the director of Large Animal Clinical Skills and then as executive associate dean, overseeing academic affairs and student services. This was on the heels of a successful stint as a faculty member of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, where he was present for the school's initial accreditation by the AVMA's Council on Education (COE).
Loneragan called Dr. Dascanio a tremendous advocate for students who understands what it takes to develop and implement a state-of-the-art veterinary program. Dr. Dascanio has authored or co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and more than 70 book chapters, as well as serving as co-editor of the "Equine Reproductive Procedures" textbook.
"I am so excited to welcome John to the Texas Tech family," Loneragan said. "His experience is second to none worldwide. John will lead and contribute to the university's teaching, research and engagement mission, and his work will elevate the School of Veterinary Medicine and the wider university. We are lucky to have someone of John's caliber."
Thanks to the generosity of the Amarillo and South Plains communities and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine is set to become a reality, with the first class scheduled to be enrolled in the fall of 2021, pending review by the AVMA COE.
The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to practice and succeed in small, agricultural and regional communities and utilize a curriculum focused on the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model eliminates the need for a costly teaching hospital and, instead, partners with the community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical learning through collaboration.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the biennial state budget, which appropriated $17.35 million for the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo that will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running. The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to move forward in establishing the school.
Donors and civic leaders have pledged more than $90 million toward infrastructure, construction and scholarships for the School of Veterinary Medicine on the site of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.