Texas A&M: ‘Doc’ Graham Center For Veterinary Care Opens In Canyon

Dignitaries, West Texas and Texas A&M University administrators and students celebrated the grand opening June 3 of two buildings that greatly enhance veterinary medical, education and research missions in the Texas Panhandle.

The center — located in the northeast corner of WT’s Canyon campus — is home to both the Veterinary Education, Research, & Outreach (VERO) Building and the Charles W. Graham DVM Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Building.

Both facilities opened in September, signaling the culmination of The Texas A&M University System’s investment in large animal health in the Texas Panhandle; grand opening celebrations were delayed due to the pandemic. The project is supported by $90 million in capital improvements and $5 million in faculty hires, for a total of $95 million in investment in the region. Ground was broken on both buildings in December 2018.

The VERO building is a $22-million, 34,000-square-foot facility that now serves as a regional veterinary teaching center that creates a gateway to the CVMBS for students interested in pursuing veterinary medicine from the Texas Panhandle and West Texas, while also facilitating collaborative, multidisciplinary research among scientists from across the region.

Not only are WT pre-veterinary students taught in the facility, it will also serve as the home for the CVMBS’ 2+2 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, which will enroll its first cohort of 18 first-year DVM students in the fall of 2021.

“Our college’s commitment to educational opportunity for the young people of our state extends from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande Valley,” said August, CVMBS dean. “On May 12, the first three students to receive their degrees from our undergraduate biomedical sciences program at the Higher Education Center in McAllen walked the stage in Reed Arena in College Station and we look forward to celebrating the graduation of our first cohort of 2+2 DVM program students from VERO in 2025.”

“With this partnership at WT, the CVMBS continues to meet both the needs of the state and our students in the most innovative, high-quality, effective and cost-efficient manner possible,” Sharp said. “We have created a two-way superhighway of veterinary education and research activity from Canyon to College Station, and it runs right through the VERO and TVMDL facilities within the Dr. Charles Graham center on the WT campus.”

VERO is also a critical component of WT’s drive to become a Regional Research University, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

“I thank Dr. Eleanor Green, the former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, as a champion of this visionary project, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents for their wisdom in adopting it, and Chancellor John Sharp for his diligent and meticulous implementation of it,” Wendler said in prepared comments.

“This farsighted partnership will greatly impact the enrollment of promising future veterinarians from the Panhandle area who want to return to the Texas Panhandle to live, work and serve.”

The TVMDL facility is a $17.6-million, 22,000-square-foot building that features the latest technology for diagnostic services in bacteriology, pathology, serology and virology, as well as spaces for receiving, sample processing, necropsy services and administrative support.

The opening of the building in September signaled a relocation to Canyon from its previous location in Amarillo, which was opened in 1975 to specifically serve the Panhandle’s cattle feedlot industry as an extension of the agency’s College Station-based laboratory.

TVMDL, one of the Texas A&M University System’s eight state agencies and a member of Texas A&M AgriLife, comprises four laboratories across the state. Annually, the agency performs more than one million diagnostic tests for a variety of animal species. The Canyon laboratory has continued the agency’s original commitment to the region’s cattle industry and performs an estimated 160,000 tests for cattle each year.

TVMDL and VERO comprise both buildings in the center named after Graham, a Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus and one of Texas’ most renowned equine veterinarians.

“The financial and human capital investments reflected in this partnership will undoubtedly have an indelible impact on the Panhandle region, the lives of the generations of students who will receive their veterinary education at VERO, and the thousands of animal owners and veterinarians who will benefit from cutting-edge diagnostic testing at TVMDL,” said Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations and executive director of the WTAMU Foundation.

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