This is an exciting time in the college! Interviews for the next entering veterinary class have wrapped up, and our incredibly hard-working admissions staff can take a breath. We’ll have an outstanding first year cohort coming together for our Cougar Orientation Leadership Experience in August before beginning classes either here in Pullman, or Utah State University in Logan, or Montana State University in Bozeman as part of our WIMU (Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah) program. We also anticipate 100 or so new freshman and transfer students to enter our strong undergraduate programs this fall in neuroscience, biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, and microbiology.
Our new students will benefit from joining one of the top colleges of veterinary medicine in the country. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges just released their annual comparative data report for all 30 U.S. veterinary colleges. We rank in the top six in total research funding, and impressively, in the top three in federal research funding. Our research projects are aimed at solving critical problems facing animal and human health all over the world such as preventing the spread of infectious disease, understanding how diseases are transmitted from animals to humans, drug toxicities in companion animals, the effects of environmental toxins on reproduction, drug addiction, antibiotic resistance, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases, and improving livestock production, to name a few.
As you may know, student debt is a huge problem facing the veterinary profession. We take pride in that our DVM graduates have the third lowest debt load in the country—nearly $55,000 less than the national average. Our innovative educational programs, growing clinical experiences, and highly committed clinicians, teachers, and staff make us a great value in high quality education. While our graduates carry less debt than most, they still face significant financial challenges, and growing our scholarship programs to ease tuition burden will continue to be a high priority.
I’m sure you’ve heard that Dr. Dori Borjesson from University of California Davis will be our new dean starting in July. She was our top choice in a nation-wide search and brings a wealth of clinical, research, and leadership experience, along with a wonderfully positive and energetic personality. Dori will be the college’s first woman dean, and we are thrilled to be among the few veterinary colleges that have broken this barrier. Along these lines, our women faculty have been incredibly successful. This year, the college will be receiving four University-wide major faculty awards, all going to women. Dr. Patricia Hunt, professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences, will be delivering this year’s WSU Distinguished Faculty Address. Dr. Erika Offerdahl, associate professor in our School of Molecular Biosciences, will receive this year’s WSU Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction. Dr. Katrina Mealey, professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, will be promoted to Regents Professor, WSU’s highest faculty rank. Dr. Kelly Brayton, professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, will receive this year’s WSU Faculty Woman of Distinction Award. Our faculty women leaders have truly distinguished themselves and continue to bring us recognition as one of the University’s top-performing colleges. We could not be more proud.
I just returned from the Western Veterinary Conference, and we had a great turnout for our alumni reception. It was amazing to experience the excitement and energy our alumni have for the profession and for WSU. Of course, I was not surprised—this has been the case at every college event I have attended. I am so very honored to be a part of it all and look forward to the exciting times ahead!
As always, GO COUGS!