Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University System, Texas Tech University Honor Amarillo National Bank

George Watson

September 24, 2018


The bank was recognized for its generous philanthropic contribution to the future School of Veterinary Medicine.

The support of the Amarillo community has been vital to the Texas Tech University System, Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTHUSC) implementing a planned School of Veterinary Medicine in the city. On Monday, Texas Tech recognized another of the trailblazing philanthropic organizations that share that vision.

Amarillo National Bank's commitment to generously support the School of Veterinary Medicine was recognized by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University System Interim Chancellor and TTUHSC President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, and Amarillo National Bank President William Ware during ceremonies held in the bank's Skyline Room.

Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell
Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell

“William Ware and Amarillo National Bank personify the sense of vision and leadership that are so essential to an initiative like this,” Schovanec said. “This community and this region have a long history of benefitting from Amarillo National Bank, as has the industry the veterinary school will serve. Their leadership is so essential for laying the foundation for the veterinary school.”

Amarillo National Bank is the largest privately held agricultural lending institution in the state. Ware, who serves as the chairman of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the School of Veterinary Medicine's Capital Campaign Steering Committee, said the bank was proud to join the other donors who are helping make this initiative possible.

“We are proud to join the Caviness family and other local philanthropists in this trailblazing effort to get this veterinary school built in Amarillo,” Ware said. “We love the tenacity, the pride and the vision of local citizens and local philanthropists, and that's what makes this work. As the largest cattle lender in Texas and the largest dairy lender in West Texas, this is important for our customers, and we want to support our customers. This is a need for them, this will improve their industry, and this will improve their futures.”


No one knows the impact a new School of Veterinary Medicine will have in the area and around the state better than Tom Portillo, manager of animal health and well-being for Amarillo-based Friona Industries, one of the leading cattle feeding businesses in the world. Portillo oversees the health and welfare of animals in six state-of-the art feedyards and was the first to make a gift to the Texas Tech veterinary school effort after examining how the university is approaching providing a cost-effective education.

“This type of program will be able to tap into that candidate pool, those people who do have an aptitude and desire to practice in rural America and focus on production animal medicine, even regulatory medicine,” said Portillo, a member of the steering committee who earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine from Colorado State University.

“That's where the need is. This is the only program that I know of that has actually brought forth a viable option to start meeting those needs. Not only will they shift that paradigm, but hopefully, with success, they will start forcing other veterinary schools and other veterinary program to look up and start rethinking their paradigm as well.”

Lawrence Schovanec
Lawrence Schovanec

These gifts support construction and development of the future School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo and help revolutionize veterinary services throughout Texas' agricultural communities. Empowered by generosity, the school is designed to fulfill a growing need in these communities by shaping the future of veterinary education and enriching the state's agricultural heritage.

Amarillo National Bank joins Caviness Beef Packers, Happy State Bank and Cactus Feeders as philanthropic leaders that have recognized the need for and are supporting the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine, which is designed to address the need for more large-animal veterinarians in Texas in a cost-effective and innovative manner.

“For us, for the Panhandle, for the states that surround this area, the counties that surround this region, this is an extraordinarily important time, as well as for us as Texas Tech University, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Texas Tech University System,” Mitchell said. “More importantly, it is an extremely important time for the people of this region because it is actually the citizens of Amarillo who wind up taking care of all of the folks in this region. It's an honor, to me, to be part of a process that is looking forward to the future in this community.”


In August, the Texas Tech University System's Board of Regents advanced the university's plans to establish a veterinary school by approving the new school, its degree plan and funding for preliminary designs for the school.

Construction of two new veterinary school buildings is expected to cost $89.82 million, with an additional five-year operating budget cost of $82.29 million, which includes classroom equipment, supplies and the cost of faculty salaries. The Board of Regents approved the concept for the veterinary school and a proposed first-stage design budget of $1.37 million.

The plan approved by the Board of Regents is designed to enroll 60 students per year for a desired enrollment of 240 students for the four-year program. The school also would potentially serve 150-200 graduate students who are not seeking a doctorate in veterinary medicine, as well as an academic staff of 90.