Students looking to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine now have the option to stay in Utah.
The Utah Legislature this year funded the new College of Veterinary Medicine at Utah State University, making it the first program of its kind in the state.
"We are grateful to Gov. Spencer Cox and the state Legislature for supporting the new USU College of Veterinary Medicine," USU President Noelle E. Cockett said in a statement. "We also appreciate Washington State University's partnership over the last 10 years with the joint doctorate of veterinary medicine degree. It is now time for USU to address the growing shortage of veterinarians in our state, particularly in rural areas."
Utah State University is currently part of the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine, meaning students complete two years of foundational study at the USU Logan campus before transferring to Pullman, Washington, to complete their final two years of education at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
The state's new appropriation of $18 million in annual funding, in addition to other funding, will allow USU to offer the state's first four-year veterinary school and provide educational opportunities to Utahns who otherwise would not be able to pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine due to limitations of the current program.
"Utah Veterinary Medical Association members are excited about legislators having funded the new school and look forward to seeing how it develops because it will have an important impact on veterinary medicine in the state," Dr. Jane Kelly, president of Utah Veterinary Medical Association, said in a statement.
"Our members will be integral to the program as they host fourth-year students and faculty members in their clinics and hospitals. 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."