New veterinary college coming to USU
Mar 8, 2022, 5:01 PM
(Mike DeBernardo, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State University announced it would open a new veterinary college using funding from the Utah legislature. USU’s College of Veterinary Medicine will be the first four-year veterinary school in Utah.
USU said this effort was possible due to the state legislature’s and Gov. Spencer Cox’s commitment to $18 million in annual funding.
“This investment is a long time coming and the new program will serve would-be veterinarians and the public for generations to come,” said Cox.
What a veterinary college means for Utah
The university said the new college will address veterinarian shortages, aid Utah’s life sciences technology sector, and partner with veterinary communities in the state.
USU’s Dean and Vice President for Agriculture and Extension Ken White noted the public health and food safety industries need veterinarians. Though many veterinarians are limited to household animal care, wildlife and large animal care is also crucial.
According to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, the animal industry in Utah is valued at $1 billion.
USU said fourth-year students will work with veterinary practices across the state. Students will get clinical training and participating practices will be compensated. The university said it modeled this practice after other schools in the country.
“The new school will be an important asset for veterinarians throughout the state, many of whom are overwhelmed by the numbers of patients and clients they work so hard to serve,” said Utah Veterinary Medical Association President, Dr. Jane Kelly.
How the new college differs
The current veterinary program at USU accepts up to 30 students a year, with 20 of those being Utah residents. Those students spend the first two years of their degree at USU before moving to Washington State University for the remaining two years.
This program is a part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine which partners universities from each state. USU has spent 10 years in this partnership.
USU President Noelle Cockett said the new college will provide more educational opportunities to students pursuing a veterinary doctorate. She said program seat caps and out-of-state placement will no longer limit students.
USU anticipates students enrolled in 2024, who would apply in 2023, will spend the full four years of their degree in Utah with the new college. USU plans to expand its program to accept up to 80 students by 2025.