A look back at what was said during last week’s historic ribbon cutting in Amarillo.
The event at the Robert L. Duncan Plaza marked the first time in over a century that the state of Texas had opened a new veterinary school, with Gov. Greg Abbott joining leaders from the Texas Tech University System and across the state to celebrate the completed and fully operational school.
Here is a look back at the comments shared by leaders on hand as Texas Tech cut the ribbon on its state-of-the-art facility.
Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec: Next year we'll celebrate the centennial anniversary of Texas Tech University. In 1923, Texas Tech was created to serve the communities and to address the needs of West Texas. But the benefits of our university have not been contained to the South Plains. Our dedication remains to West Texas, but our impact is felt across the state and around the world.
Now, nearly a century later, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine will address needs that are particularly acute in the rural communities and the industries of West Texas, but we can be sure that the benefits will be statewide.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: It was in 1916 – when Texas had about 4.5 million residents in the entire state – at that time the leaders in the state of Texas thought that there was a need for the state of Texas to have a veterinarian school. And they established one back in 1916 at Texas A&M. It took more than 100 years to double that number. Since 1916 Texas has added about 25 million people to our population as well as countless animals.
Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Guy Loneragan: While the vision was bold, our purpose is simple. It is how we serve rural and regional communities of Texas and beyond, and how we provide access to world-class, affordable education. That's it. There's nothing more, nothing else, nothing less. That is our purpose, and it has driven everything we have done as a school.
Texas Tech University System Board of Regents Chairman J. Michael Lewis: I grew up in West Texas, very much a part of the agriculture industry on my family's ranch in Olney, and so I know how important and impactful agriculture is to our heritage and our prosperity in Texas.
The School of Veterinary Medicine is an accomplishment that has not only elevated the entire Texas Tech University System and allowed us to provide greatly needed educational opportunities for our students, but it's one that has also given us the opportunity to answer the tremendous needs of our communities and to serve those who provide critical resources and services to our state and region – also known as food.
Loneragan: Serving rural and regional communities begins with purposeful admission and selection of the students that will be part of the program. Our first class is truly amazing. I reckon they might be the best class of veterinary students in the country, but I could be just a little bit biased.
These students are the future of the veterinary medicine profession in Texas and New Mexico. They will contribute to the vibrancy of communities all across Texas and help secure its wonderful future. Our students work with us every day. They help build this program. They will become the measures of our success.
Texas Tech University System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D.: Our state is blessed. For over a century, we have had one of the finest veterinary medicine schools in the world run by our friends in College Station. Today, as we cut this ribbon, our state and New Mexico are blessed twice over, because we now have two schools with very different missions, but with a common focus on excellence in veterinary medicine.
Gov. Abbott: Being a Tier 1 university, for Texas Tech, is like Texas Tech going to the NCAA basketball tournament: It's a great start, but it's not the destination they seek. There are greater heights to achieve, and Texas Tech is doing all the right things to reach those heights with the opening and addition of this tremendous vet school.
Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson: I'll tell you that everyone who touched this project and worked on it can testify to hearing these words: ‘You'll never get it done.' ‘You don't have the support.' ‘You'll never raise the money.' ‘This will never happen.'
But we didn't let others define what we were capable of doing. And now, after years of hard work with our project that couldn't be done, the biggest longshot is a reality. So, we can look to the future and anticipate the benefits that this school will bring to the Panhandle and to the state of Texas.
Veterinary student Cassidy Snow: I'm so proud to be a part of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine and the family that is created by our program and by Texas Tech University. I'm so excited to be standing here today with everyone, sharing in this incredible milestone with our incredible community. We truly cannot wait to make you guys proud, and I think that you'll see that the amazing doctors made possible by this program will go on to show that excitement to Texas, New Mexico and beyond.
Thank you all for being here today. From here, it's possible. Wreck'Em!