Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 2018, and the story of Amarillo’s newest higher education institution continued on Thursday, while students, faculty, and staff continued pre-class orientation starting Monday.
Some of the institution’s first 64 students, as well as faculty and staff members, came to the school near the campus of the TTU Health Sciences Center in Amarillo on Thursday to hear from university, systems and city officials welcoming the institution .
Officials broke ground for the school in September 2019, according to previous Globe News reports. In March, the school received preliminary accreditation status from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Education Council.
According to their website, the veterinary school consists of two buildings, including the academic headquarters and a second building that contains space for the infrastructure; Development of clinical, surgical and agricultural skills; and large animal husbandry. The construction budget of $ 90 million was raised through donations from individuals and groups, including foundations and the Amarillo Economic Development Corp.
For Guy Loneragan, the school’s dean, it seems unreal that classes are actually taking place in the new facility.
“It’s exciting. To some extent, it’s hard to believe it’s real. We thought about it, worked on it, had the talk about school for so long (so) to actually be here and have the opportunity to take the walk with this fantastic group of students and the great team here is just exciting “, he said.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said it was a long process that originally started in 2015. But the potential to add this school in Amarillo has been debated since the 1960s.
Schovanec said excitement was in the air on Thursday when he saw the students, faculty and staff. He stressed that without the help of the city of Amarillo and representatives of the state government, the school would not be in its current location.
“To see this is extraordinary. We have just met with the students, faculty and staff and the excitement and anticipation is incredible. I know this is a personal dream for these students, ”he said. “It’s a very incredible group in terms of their qualifications, talent and work ethic. But I also think that everyone here is connected in some way by a higher vision. That’s historical, but I also think their legacy won’t be just because they were in that class. You can see what will become of these graduates. ”
Schovanec said the veterinary school has a special mission: to meet rural needs in the large animal industry. This can be seen in the students who start their educational journey on Monday.
“The applicants come from all over the state,” he said. “There are needs across the country that it will address. But also this area: New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas. The impact will extend well beyond West Texas and Texas. It puts this veterinary school and Amarillo in a unique, important position. ”
Since the school is in its first year, Loneragan sees students as partners in the development process and shows their pioneering spirit as they are made up of the very first grade.
He added that the unique part of the school is its regional and rural mission. He said he believed it would give the school an opportunity to do something special in Amarillo.
“We designed everything related to service to rural and regional communities in Texas and beyond. It started with recruiting students who have life experience in rural and regional communities, ”said Loneragan. “Our curriculum is geared towards this. It’s a very hands-on curriculum, much more practical than most veterinary curricula. In their last year they have gained experience in rural and regional communities … Service to rural and regional communities is the essence of our mission. It’s not part of our mission, it’s our whole mission. “
The culmination of all the work that has been put into the school is “second to none” and the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine shows Schovanec that “dreams come true”. He said this was just the beginning, the foundation of what the school could do in the future.
“This story is only just beginning,” said Schovanec.
In the western part of the campus, which is to house the laboratory and research facilities, the construction of the facility is still in progress, according to previous reports. Officials expect an official ribbon cutting ceremony to be held on October 22nd.
For more information on the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, please visit https://www.depts.ttu.edu/vetschool/.