The Texas Tech University (TTU) School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) is receiving $350,000 in gift funds from Bank of America to build and support a new world-class school of veterinary medicine to address the region’s growing shortage of veterinary resources.
The new 185,000 square-foot, two-story facility will enroll its first students later this year. Once fully implemented over the years ahead, the School anticipates more than 450 veterinary and graduate students. While the veterinary curriculum is firmly focused on general veterinary practice in rural and regional communities, the graduate program will produce scientists who provide solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
“Our facilities are truly world class. They will be a fantastic academic home for our students, staff and faculty,” said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “We are so thankful that our community, the region as a whole and Bank of America have made these facilities and our programs a reality. This gift will contribute to a premier space for students and support critical programs and recruitment efforts across the region.”
The project is estimated to generate more than $75 million annually for the region and create nearly 375 new jobs. Located in the region that is responsible for nearly a quarter of the country’s beef, the School’s programs and research components will support sustainability efforts in the livestock industry. The School’s unique geographic placement will enable it to serve as the closest veterinary school for students in five states that support large-animal agriculture and all face veterinary shortages.
“Amarillo is a very special community, and everyone here knows how important quality animal care is to our economy,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “This school gives Amarillo a competitive advantage and opens the doorway to a wide array of opportunities for students, farmers, researchers and so many more.”
The SVM’s mission can be distilled to supporting the veterinary service and educational needs of rural and regional communities, and to provide access to an affordable world-class education. To achieve this mission, the School is implementing a three-pronged strategy based on targeted admissions, curricular focus, and experiential learning. In terms of the admission process, the School is preferentially recruiting and admitting students with deep life experiences rooted in rural and regional communities across Texas and New Mexico. This includes many underserved communities with a substantial Latino population. This is an important part of the fabric of Texas that has been traditionally underrepresented in veterinary medicine.
To meet its mission more effectively, the school is implementing programs to enhance cultural competency. These will inform approaches, for example, to more effectively recruit students in communities on Texas’ southern border, refine the admissions process to identify students with tremendous potential but who might not have had the opportunity to attend pre-veterinary programs at larger comprehensive universities, or to design educational models to help veterinary students develop Spanish competency to effectively communicate with clients or animal care givers for whom English is a second language. The School’s cultural competency initiatives are funded in part by the Bank of America gift and the SVM Cultural Competency Council will be led by Drs. Arlene Garcia and László Hunyadi.
“The Texas Tech University’s School of Veterinary Medicine will serve as a social and economic anchor for Amarillo, the region and our state. The groundbreaking research and teaching on animal and human interface will benefit all societies and animal well-being,” said W. Ashley Allen, President Bank of America Amarillo. “Our philanthropic investment will pay dividends for years to come, supporting economic mobility and bolstering rural jobs for the region.”
This anchor gift is Bank of America’s largest gift in the region to date and comes as part of its focus on advancing economic mobility by supporting nonprofit organizations serving education and workforce, community development and basic needs.
The Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 2018 with a sole purpose of serving the veterinary needs of rural and regional communities, as well as provide access to affordable, world-class veterinary education. The School is implementing a bold and innovative approach to veterinary education that is built on three intentional strategies. These are to recruit and preferentially admit students with life experiences rooted in rural and regional communities, deliver a curriculum built specifically to address the veterinary needs of rural and regional communities, and provide exceptional real-world experiential learning in rural and regional communities. Texas Tech is delivering one of the most affordable veterinary programs in the country and has begun enrolling its pioneering class of students from Texas and New Mexico.
For more information visit, https://www.depts.ttu.edu/vetschool/.
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Carla Molina, Bank of America