by Bryan Slinker, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine
Milestones: Significant moments in time to take stock, celebrate achievement and history, and then continue to march ahead strongly. There have been many of these recently.
Washington State University celebrates its 125th year in 2015. Your College of Veterinary Medicine is a mere 116 years old—the fifth oldest in the United States. But, because a veterinarian was one of the University’s founding three faculty members in 1890, there has always been a veterinarian on the faculty at WSU.
WSU’s eight-year capital campaign exceeded its $1 billion goal. With your help our college raised nearly 15 percent of that, well exceeding our goal of $133 million, second only to our colleagues in the College of Human, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences among all WSU programs. Our endowment now totals $44 million, including a much needed growth in scholarship endowment by a little over $5 million over the eight years of the campaign. We cannot rest on our laurels, however, and the continued generosity and investments of our extended Cougar family will be increasingly important as we aim even higher in our aspirations.
Two years ago, we moved into our newest facility—the Veterinary Biomedical Research Building—capping an incredible growth in our programs and space over the past eight years. For the first time, we have more than 600,000 square feet of assignable space for student education, innovative research, and exemplary service to benefit our friends and stakeholders.
We’ve come a very long way from the few hundred square feet in which our college was founded, a shed tacked onto the Armory in 1895 as authorized by the Washington State legislature “at a cost not to exceed $60.” This facility served the first graduating class of 1903, just three students. Contrast this to the DVM Class of 2019 that started class in late August that is our largest ever with 137 students enrolled at three campuses across our multi-state partnership, the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU, pronounced wee-moo) Regional Program. Moreover, we now have our largest-ever number of undergraduate students. More than 650 undergraduates have chosen this year to pursue four life-science majors that allow them to learn biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, microbiology, or neuroscience and engage in research with outstanding faculty across our college. We are one of only three colleges of veterinary medicine in the country to offer undergraduate degrees, and our growth mirrors the increased enrollment at WSU, including a high proportion of first-generation college students and diverse individuals.
Ending on a personal note, I am just wrapping up my seventh year as your dean. My, how time flies. As I take stock, let forth with a big sigh, and revel in the moment, I ask you to do the same—and then get ready to move ahead with me.