Lincoln Memorial University has notified the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of its intent to initiate a College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine.

The proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine (CVCM) would be an integral part of the LMU Division of Health Sciences, which currently includes the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Caylor School of Nursing and the School of Allied Health Sciences. As such, in addition to its veterinary faculty and facilities the proposed College would share the experienced faculty and high-quality facilities available to the other disciplines within the Division. In fact, the field of comparative medicine relies on this interdisciplinary study between human and animal medicine and involves physicians, veterinarians and basic scientists working together to make improvements in both human and animal health.

“The proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine would be an asset to LMU’s Division of Health Sciences,” said Dr. Ray E. Stowers, vice president of health sciences and dean of LMU-DCOM. “Students enrolled in the proposed college would have the opportunity to learn from the medical school faculty and share state-of-the art facilities with the entire Division. We look forward to enrolling students in this exciting new program.”

Earlier this month the Tennessee Department of Agriculture identified four areas in the state that are eligible for federal assistance in filling a shortage of large-animal veterinarians, including Hawkins, Greene and surrounding counties near LMU. Large-animal medicine is a core focus for the LMU program. The federal program, which provides financial assistance to help vet students pay up to $25,000 in tuition a year in exchange for service in underserved areas underscores, the need for quality trained veterinarians in Tennessee and throughout Appalachia. Currently, there are 28 vet schools in the United States and only one in Tennessee.

LMU has experienced rapid growth over the past decade with enrollment up 154% (1,753 in 2000 to 4,445 last fall).In the last five years alone, the University has grown to include LMU-DCOM, the physician assistant program and the Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL). Throughout this growth, LMU has continued to honor its mission of providing programming and opportunities to the people of Appalachia and beyond. The proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine is another example of this mission-based growth.

LMU has investigated the feasibility of a College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine for over a year. Guided by CVCM Executive Dean Peter Eyre (former Dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine) and strategic consultants, LMU trustees and administration have visited schools around the country and in Canada to learn more about initiating a college. Stowers and CVCM Dean Randy Evans have helmed LMU’s efforts. As part of the pursuit of the College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine, the University will also seek accreditation at Level VI as required.

"The proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine will seek to fulfill the mission of Lincoln Memorial University of serving the health and wellness needs of animals and people within rural communities, especially within the Appalachian region, by providing an educational opportunity to Appalachian residents," Evans said. "The CVCM will make veterinary education more affordable to deserving students by offering a high-quality accelerated six-year combined pre-veterinary and doctoral level veterinary medical curriculum when compared to the present eight-year curriculum model."

LMU’s School of Allied Health Sciences, for which Evans has served as dean since 2007, is already home to a highly successful veterinary technology associate and bachelor degree program accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. LMU veterinary technology program graduates qualify to take the national veterinary technician licensing examination in order to become a licensed veterinary technician/technologist.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tenn.