Texas, the nation’s second largest and second most populous state, would get its second veterinary school if an idea unveiled decades ago comes to fruition.
The Texas Tech University System on Friday announced that it will give serious consideration over the next year to starting a DVM program and will request approval from Texas lawmakers and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Many students, including some of the 150 enrolled in Texas Tech’s pre-veterinary program, cannot get into a veterinary school because of the limited number of seats nationwide, the university noted. The Texas Tech DVM program would provide greater opportunities for those students and serve the state’s huge agriculture industry.
“Addressing the veterinary education needs in Texas is crucial not only because of the region’s and state’s deep-rooted history with agriculture and ranching, but also because of its continued prosperity,” said Robert L. Duncan, chancellor of the 49,000-student Texas Tech University System.
“Our vision … [would] transform the landscape of veterinary medicine education and provide innovative solutions for the industry’s future.”
The Texas Tech University System oversees campuses across the state, including one in Amarillo, where the veterinary school could be established.
“Amarillo is the heart of the country’s leading livestock production area, and [the Health Sciences Center’s] campus in Amarillo will serve as an ideal location for this initiative,” the university stated.
The program would compete with one 450 miles away at Texas A&M University. The Texas A&M University System chancellor, John Sharp, called the revived plan a “long-rejected claim” and said Texas A&M is considering an expansion of its own veterinary program.
“The Coordinating Board has specifically rejected the [Texas Tech] notion. The Legislature has rejected this for 40 years,” the Texas Tribune quoted Sharp as saying.
The Texas Tech program likely would become part of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“Being in West Texas, where most of the state’s and nation’s livestock are concentrated, we understand the importance of veterinary medicine and see the industry’s needs first-hand,” said the college’s dean, Michael Galyean, MS, Ph.D.
The United States has 30 veterinary schools. The University of Arizona expects to open No. 31 next school year near Tucson.