Arizona Regents Approve UA Vet School

The University of Arizona Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program is expected to open in 2015 after winning approval from the Board of Regents.

A four-year veterinary medicine program planned at the University of Arizona received the go-ahead from the Arizona Board of Regents.

The panel approved the school Sept. 25 after hearing about its proposed mission and from stakeholder groups and university administrators.

The doctoral program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is scheduled to launch next fall in Tucson with about 100 first-year students.

Pending is a comprehensive site visit by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education, which accredits U.S. veterinary schools and some international institutions.

The Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program was on the drawing board for years but moved forward quickly with the announcement Aug. 22 of a $9 million gift from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation.

Arizona would join two other fledgling veterinary programs: Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz., and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. The two newest programs began classes in August as the nation’s 29th and 30th veterinary schools.

The Board of Regents was told that the Arizona school will be founded on three critical pillars: commerce, human-animal interdependence and One Health.

“Not only will the program train DVMs, it will also allow students who do not become DVMs—but who are interested in a successful career in the very large and diverse areas of our economy associated with animals—to get a master’s degree in areas related to the three pillars,” the university reported.

“These students will also be well-positioned to enter other professional health programs: M.D., Pharm.D., D.O., D.D.S., N.P. and others.”

Among supporters addressing the regents were Judy Prosser of Bar T Bar Ranch, Vickie Parks of the Coconino County Farm Bureau and Andy Groseta of the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, who noted a shortage of large animal and rural veterinarians in Arizona.

Prospective student Zane Gouker told the board about “the frustration many Arizona students face when paying high out-of-state or private tuition,” the university stated.

Shane Burgess, Ph.D., vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said the regents’ decision means “Arizona will get a program that it deserves and has needed for decades.”

“We are focusing on keeping costs down for Arizonans and their families,” Burgess said. “I see enormous value in being the first DVM program that focuses as much on success pathways for people that won’t make it into the program as those who do. The three pillars are game changers.”

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