I remain concerned about the fate of Texas Tech University’s planned school of veterinary medicine that is supposed to be built in Amarillo.
My concern has been lessened , though, by a donation that came from former Amarillo Mayor Jerry and Margaret Hodge, who have pledged $10 million to build the school at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center campus in west Amarillo.
Yep, the Hodges have stepped up, as is their tendency when community need arises.
And it did with the recent removal of state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, from the chairmanship of the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee.
I am not predicting that the veterinary medicine school is doomed simply because Seliger is no longer chairman of the key Senate committee charged with legislating the school into existence. However, the generosity of a prominent Amarillo couple helps protect the school and helps guide it closer toward completion.
As for Seliger and his ongoing feud with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, my hope for the sprawling Senate District 31 is that it won’t get stiffed by Patrick’s petulance against a veteran — and accomplished — state legislator.
Let us hope the school of veterinary medicine makes it across the finish line. Texas Tech will reap the reward. Better still, so will the West Texas agricultural community that will benefit from the veterinarians who will graduate from the vet school.
Many thanks, Jerry and Margaret Hodge, for stepping up.
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp came to the Panhandle the other day to announce plans to enhance West Texas A&M’s veterinary medicine education program.
Sharp wants to maintain A&M’s monopoly on veterinary medicine throughout the state. I cannot blame him for looking out for the university system he administers.
Oh, but wait. His plan for WT have the appearance of a sort of pre-emptive strike to prevent Texas Tech University from building a school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo, which is a live option on the table for the community … and for Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan.
Duncan and Sharp have distinct differences of opinion on whether Texas Tech should proceed with construction of a veterinary college in Amarillo. Duncan came to town not long ago to pitch the case to community leaders, suggesting that Tech’s board of regents are committed to establishing a vet school next to Tech’s existing Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.
Sharp, meanwhile, is pulling out many stops to prevent Tech from proceeding. The top Aggie is a savvy enough politician to understand what the announcement that boosts WT’s role in veterinary medicine means to any potential competition. Then again, Duncan has been around the Texas political pea patch a time or two himself, so he must be acutely aware of what Sharp might be trying to accomplish.
I happen to believe that Texas — with 268,000 square miles and 27 million residents — is big enough to accommodate two schools of veterinary medicine. Duncan has high praise for the veterinary education that A&M provides. He also believes Texas Tech can provide a top-drawer education for veterinary medicine students who want to be educated here at home and who might want to remain in the Panhandle after they receive their DVM degrees from Texas Tech.
I happen to agree with Duncan.
I also believe the A&M initiative is good for West Texas A&M, it’s good for the community … but it shouldn’t forestall Texas Tech’s efforts to establish a veterinary medicine presence in Amarillo.