Arizona veterinary program being reconceptualized

Monday, July 7, 2014

A setback this spring for the proposed Veterinary Medical & Surgical Program at the University of Arizona has forced program leaders to rethink their strategy.

Nearly two years have passed since word first came of a veterinary program at the state's only land-grant university. The university's board of regents voted Sept. 27, 2012, to ask the state legislature to authorize $3 million for planning and staging of a veterinary program in Tucson. University officials subsequently asked the state legislature for a more modest $250,000 state appropriation for the initial study in spring 2013. The proposal went to Gov. Janice K. Brewer for her signature, but she did not include it in her 2013-2014 budget request. 

The second round of funding requests to the state legislature took place this spring. A little more than $4 million was sought to hire the necessary faculty and renovate facilities in existing buildings being used by the college's undergraduate program in veterinary science. But Gov. Brewer signed the state's $9.2 billion budget plan on April 11 with no money specifically allocated for the veterinary program.

In a letter to the board of regents, UA President Ann Weaver Hart wrote that the university was disappointed that the state chose not to support the veterinary program but that "we have been thrilled and inspired by the responses we have received from the veterinary medicine profession and accrediting body, from the Arizona agricultural community, and from other constituents in and beyond our state."

Later, she wrote, "I have charged the UA team to go back to the drawing board and reconceptualize our proposal under a new business plan that relies on philanthropy and multiple sources of revenue, including more out-of-state and international students, yet makes our revolutionary and innovative proposal a reality."

Dr. Shane Burgess, dean of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said that the university would select about 35 Arizonans for the veterinary class, with no number yet assigned for total class enrollment.

Read the rest of this May 28, 2014 AVMA article at the link below.

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