The foundation 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. Today (Dec. 6), Texas Tech recognized another of the trailblazing philanthropic organizations that share that vision.
The commitment of The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation to generously support the School of Veterinary Medicine with a $1 million endowment to support scholarships was recognized by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University System Chancellor and TTUHSC President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, Foundation President and CEO Clay Stribling and Maddy Ainsley, a senior pre-veterinary medicine student from Hondo, during ceremonies held at the TTUHSC-Amarillo School of Pharmacy.
“This is about access and opportunity,” Schovanec said. “Every year, many students from Texas, in pursuit of a career in veterinary medicine, leave the state to go to other schools in this country and out of the country. When they come back, they are saddled with additional debt, which restricts the opportunities in front of them and might influence where they go to practice. The School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo will enhance the opportunities for those students to practice the kind of veterinary medicine that was in their heart when they made the hard decision to pursue that degree. It's gifts like this from the Harrington Foundation that provide that opportunity for those students.”
The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation is the public-supporting organization of the Amarillo Area Foundation, which, combined, total more than $220 million in assets and have provided grants totaling more than $140 million to further its vision of addressing the healthcare needs of the Texas Panhandle.
“I felt like our region would step up in a big way financially to support the School of Veterinary Medicine,” Stribling said. “As I stand here today, I am really awed by the outpouring of support this community has for this project. Because of the effort of all the groups and individuals involved, we are on the verge of making this a reality, and we are so excited to have a part to play in this. It makes me so proud of our neighbors supporting that we are going to change the face of veterinary medicine in this region, in our state and in our nation because we have such a commitment to large-animal medicine, and that is important to all of us.”
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.
Ainsley, who claimed the top individual honors in leading the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team to the 2017 national championship, grew up learning about animal care both on her family's farm and from working as a veterinary technician in her hometown. She is expecting to graduate next week and has applied to veterinary school, including three out-of-state universities, and said her experience in a vast array of animal-care settings has made her a more well-rounded person, which has opened numerous doors for her future.
“I've come to genuinely value the importance of scholarships, and without the generosity of donors such as the Harringtons, higher education, especially for professional degrees, would be substantially more difficult to achieve for myself as well as the majority of students,” Ainsley said. “Not only do scholarships allow students to follow their dreams and achieve their goals, but they also help them graduate in a position of minimal debt and with a more solid foundation for starting a new career. This endowment is a tremendous stepping stone for our veterinary school and endorses the established, cost-effective curriculum we have set for our future veterinary students.”
The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation joins Amarillo National Bank, Caviness Beef Packers, Happy State Bank and Cactus Feeders among other 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.
“We are thrilled to be part of the fabric of a community that is so intent on improving the lives of its own citizens,” Mitchell said. “The things we do, the things this community ponies up for, it impacts the people of Eastern New Mexico, the Oklahoma Panhandle, into Colorado and Kansas. The things we do here impact the people in states that are not even next to us but beyond that. When it comes to the things we do in medicine, making sure that the educational experience for the student is affordable is critical. Part of the process for all of this is to make sure the debt they have is not going to be a deterrent for the field they choose, particularly when it's a field we need.”
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. 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.