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Colorado State Vet Program Flying High

By Ken Niedziela

Colorado State University slideshow
Lance Perryman, DVM, Ph.D., describes Colorado State University’s veterinary program in terms as lofty as the nearby Rocky Mountains.

“We’re proud of our schools, we’re proud of our ranking, we’re proud of our research,” says the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Perryman can back up any boasting.

U.S. News and World Report ranks Colorado State second best among the nation’s veterinary medical schools. The Professional Veterinary Medicine program is No. 1 among veterinary schools in federal research funding. And the college is recognized for having one of the best equine reproduction schools.

Rankings don’t tell the whole story.

At a Glance

Location: Fort Collins, Colo.

Founded: 1907

Professional Veterinary Medicine Students: 527

Mean Age: 27

Tuition and Fees: $5,874 (resident undergraduate student) to $21,590 (non-resident graduate student)

Room and Board: $7,828

Combined Programs: DVM/Ph.D., Master’s in Business/DVM, Master’s in Public Health/DVM

Dean: Lance Perryman, former professor and head of Department of Microbiology, Pathology and Parasitology at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The Tacoma, Wash., native received his DVM and Ph.D. from Washington State University and his MS from Ohio State University.

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Ask Perryman what distinguishes Colorado State and he says: “The impact of our research programs, and these fall in five major areas: assisted reproductive technology, cancer, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and the neurosciences.”

Ask what he’s most proud of and he says: “We strive for balance and excellence in instruction, in clinical research and in transitional research – research that has benefits to human health.”

Close to every mountain peak is a valley. For Colorado State’s high-flying veterinary program, the valley is the nation’s economic downturn.

“We are heading into a period of reduced state funding,” says Perryman, who serves on the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. “Exact amounts won’t be known until May, but we know we will be facing budget reductions.”

Still, the threat hasn’t stopped the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences from pursuing expansion.

“We’re in a major building program,” Perryman says. “We have plans to add several new facilities, new buildings, in the three locations of our campus. Most of these buildings will be attached to or surrounding our existing hospital.”

Coming in June is the 90,000-square-foot Diagnostic Medical Center, costing $42 million. On tap are 14 additional facilities to be constructed through donated dollars.

“We’re in the process of raising the funds now,” Perryman says.

Colorado State has 527 students enrolled in the Professional Veterinary Medicine program, and if Perryman has his way, Colorado State will add students to help reduce the nation’s veterinarian shortage.

“I think the shortage is greatest for veterinarians working in the public health sector,” he says.

He suggests three solutions:

  • Increase class sizes at existing schools, which would require building facilities and adding faculty.
  • Construct new schools. “That’s an exceptionally expensive proposition for states that choose to take that on,” he says.
  • Encourage students to obtain their veterinary experience outside the U.S.

Perryman expects veterinarians to assume greater public roles in years to come.

“The concept of ‘One Medicine’ lends itself to the works of veterinary medicine,” he says. “I think you’ll see a greater proportion of veterinarians going into the public health and public service arenas, going into research appointments, assuming greater leadership roles in government policy.” <HOME>

Posted: March 30, 2009

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