A proliferation of newly proposed veterinary colleges
Universities from South Carolina to Utah have lined up to seek accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education
September 13, 2023
Updated September 13, 2023
Nearly a dozen newly proposed veterinary colleges have been announced in the past two years, which represents a sizeable potential increase to the existing 33 U.S. veterinary colleges. Some universities have already secured site visits from the COE while others are just in the discussion stage.
All must seek accreditation from the AVMA Council on Education (AVMA COE), which is done by requesting a consultative site visit. The consultative site visit provides the proposed veterinary college with an unofficial report on the plan’s readiness to apply for a letter of reasonable assurance. Once any deficiencies in the plan have been addressed and document to the council, the proposed veterinary college can then apply for a comprehensive site visit to determine if the plan meets the criteria for a letter of reasonable assurance.
A letter of reasonable assurance is not a pre-accreditation action but indicates that the proposed veterinary college may gain accreditation in the future if the program completes all the plans it presents to the AVMA COE. Receiving this letter allows the institution to begin enrolling students.
The 11 proposed veterinary programs are as follows:
Ana G. Méndez
The Ana G. Méndez University has developed the first School of Veterinary Medicine in Puerto Rico at the Gurabo Campus. The school will have specialized laboratories as well as small and large animal clinics, according to information from school officials.
In May 2021, university officials announced the new veterinary program, amending its license from the Puerto Rico Board of Post-Secondary Institutions, a local regulatory agency, to offer the program. The veterinary school is now pursuing a letter of reasonable assurance from the AVMA COE. The council conducted a comprehensive site visit for a letter of reasonable assurance at the campus August 27-31.
Dr. Shaiana M. Negrón Pagán has been appointed dean of the new school. She had been part of the faculty for the veterinary technology program since 2016 and directed the program. The AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities accredited the veterinary technology program in 2018. The program was the first in Puerto Rico to receive accreditation for both associate and bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology.
A-State’s plan includes as many as 40 new faculty and staff positions. The university plans to use existing space on campus for classroom instruction and renovate facilities on the A-State Research and Instructional Farm, but there is also potential for a dedicated building for the proposed program, according to an Arkansas Business article. A-State previously estimated that the veterinary college would require initial equipment and facility investment of $15 million.
The university has named Dr. Glen Hoffsis, a former veterinary college dean at The Ohio State University, the University of Florida, and Lincoln-Memorial University (LMU), as the veterinary college’s founding dean.
A-State announced in January that it was moving forward with the veterinary college after nearly three years of delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university aims to open the program, which would be one of the first in the state, at its Jonesboro campus in fall 2025 or 2026, pending approval. The AVMA COE does not have a consultative site visit scheduled for the proposed program this year. The university expects 120 students in each cohort.
Chamberlain University is run by Adtalem Global Education—formerly DeVry Inc.—a for-profit institution that also owns Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies.
Chamberlain has the largest school of nursing in the U.S. and 23 locations throughout the United States. Chamberlain comprises the College of Nursing, with online and campus-based programs, and the College of Health Professions, offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs, mostly related to nursing.
A LinkedIn post for the founding dean DVM program position indicates the proposed veterinary college would be located in Stockbridge, Georgia.
The proposed Clemson University College of Veterinary Medicine would be the university’s first professional school and the first veterinary program in South Carolina.
Approved by the university’s board of trustees this past June, plans are to enroll the first veterinary students in fall 2026 with the first class of veterinarians graduating in 2030. The AVMA COE does not have a consultative site visit scheduled for the proposed program this year.
The proposed veterinary college will use the university’s existing animal health programs and infrastructure, according to the announcement. It will also plan on implementing a distributive model of clinical education.
Dr. Steven Marks, associate dean and director of veterinary medical services and clinical professor of emergency and internal medicine at North Carolina State University, has been chosen as the proposed veterinary college’s founding dean, who began in the position on August 14.
Currently, the state provides tuition coverage for 46 students to pursue veterinary education at Tuskegee University (seven), Mississippi State University (10), and the University of Georgia (29).
Lincoln Memorial University-Orange Park (Florida)
On August 2, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) in Harrogate, Tennessee, announced that it is pursuing accreditation for a second veterinary college, this one in Orange Park, Florida. The AVMA COE will conduct a consultative site visit with LMU-Orange Park College of Veterinary Medicine from November 12-16.
LMU has already bought two buildings, consisting of a total of 130,000 square feet, on approximately 12 acres near Jacksonville. The veterinary college would be among the new programs being developed at that site, says Dr. Stacy Anderson, dean of Lincoln Memoria’s veterinary college. She says they are requesting a class size of 150 for the Orange Park location and that the veterinary college would have a distributive model of clinical education and a three-year curriculum. Dr. Kim Carney, who has worked for LMU’s veterinary college for six years in roles as professor and administrator, will be its founding dean. LMU has been accredited by the AVMA COE since 2019.
Meanwhile, another institution in Arkansas is planning to open a veterinary school: Lyon College, an undergraduate liberal arts college located in Batesville, Arkansas.
On July 1, Lyon appointed Dr. Eleanor Green, professor emerita and dean emerita of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University, to lead the proposed School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Green is also a senior advisor and consultant for the Animal Policy Group, which is helping launch the program.
The AVMA COE will have a consultative site visit for the Lyon College proposed School of Veterinary Medicine from November 5-9.
Rowan University aims to establish the first veterinary school in New Jersey.
In November 2021, the New Jersey legislature approved $75 million in funding to construct the veterinary school’s primary academic and clinical facility. The 108,000-square-foot veterinary medical complex will include academic classrooms, diagnostic and teaching laboratories, a teaching hospital, and administrative and faculty offices.
South Jersey businessman Gerald B. Shreiber announced in April he was donating $30 million to the veterinary school during a groundbreaking ceremony on Rowan’s West Campus in Harrison Township, New Jersey.
The school will be named the Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine, which aims to have an inaugural class of 60-70 students in fall 2025, pending a letter of reasonable assurance from the AVMA COE. The program had a consultative site visit by the council, an initial step in the accreditation process, May 14-18.
Rowan’s board of trustees appointed Dr. Matthew Edson as founding dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Edson, a 2011 veterinary graduate of Kansas State University, founded Rancocas Veterinary Associates, a mixed animal practice with locations in Mt. Holly and Tuckerton, New Jersey.
Utah State University
Since 2012, Utah State University (USU) has been a partner in the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in veterinary medicine. Veterinary students spend their first two years at Utah State and finish the last two years at Washington State University.
Currently, 30 students—20 of whom must be Utah residents—are admitted to USU’s program each year. Students who are Utah residents continue to pay in-state tuition after they move to Washington state, subsidized by funding from the state of Utah.
With the creation of the USU College of Veterinary Medicine, students would be able to spend all four years in Utah. Eventually, 80 students would be admitted each year, with 40 of those being Utah residents, according to university information.
The proposed veterinary college was approved in early 2022 by the Utah state legislature. Plans call for an $80 million building for the program. Rather than constructing a teaching hospital, the program would have a distributive model for students’ clinical training.
The hope is to start the first cohort of 40 students in fall 2025, then build up to 80-student classes over time. Until then, USU continues to participate in the WIMU program. The AVMA COE is conducting a consultative site visit for the proposed veterinary college September 10-14.
Dr. Dirk Vanderwall is interim dean. He was recruited to Utah State in 2012 with the start of the WIMU program. He initially taught equine reproduction in USU’s Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences.
Other potential programs
Three remaining institutions have been mentioned as possible sites for new veterinary colleges but not much information is currently available.
One is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically Black college and university in Princess Anne, Maryland. It’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences has a preveterinary program that graduates an average of five to seven students per year.
The second one is Rocky Vista College. This private, for-profit medical school opened in 2006 and has campuses in Parker, Colorado; Ivins, Utah; and Billings, Montana. It lists Dr. Robert Murtaugh, a veterinary specialist, educator, and consultant, as dean of its proposed College of Veterinary Medicine, but the position has yet to be officially announced. He said the veterinary college is still just in the idea stage at and that internal discussions are underway.
The third is Murray State University. Its board of regents voted August 25 to approve a feasibility study on developing a veterinary school. A task force will examine the current veterinary workforce in the state and work toward developing the first veterinary program in Kentucky, according to a university press release.
Murray State’s Hutson School of Agriculture currently offers a bachelor’s degree program in animal technology that allows students to focus on veterinary technology or preveterinary medicine.
Approximately 70 students from Kentucky are accepted each year to out-of-state veterinary schools. The university currently has agreements with Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in which it pays the out-of-state portion of the tuition for students accepted to one of these programs.