Dean Lairmore's State of the School 2019

student presents research at a poster session
Veterinary students have the opportunity to conduct and present research through the Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR) program. This aligns with the school's Strategic Plan goal of educating world leaders in academic veterinary medicine.

In his annual State of the School address on May 23rd, Dean Michael Lairmore congratulated the school for passing accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association with flying colors. He also highlighted the school’s continued #1 ranking by US News & World Report and #2 world-wide by QS World Rankings. 

By organizing his presentation with the five main goals of the school’s Strategic Plan, Lairmore illuminated how the school’s community has achieved those goals and how we are aligned for future success. These are a few brief examples. The entire powerpoint is available here.

Goal 1.0 -Educate World Leaders in Academic Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Medical Practice, Biomedical and Agricultural Research, Industry, Government, and Public and Environmental Health

As we graduate the Class of 2019, we prepare to welcome the new class of 2023. This new cohort of 150 students come from a diverse background; 41 percent of them report as underrepresented minority students and 29 of those are first generation college students. We’ll have the pleasure of welcoming them to the UC Davis veterinary community in August during the White Coat Ceremony.

The school continues to keep debt in check by implementing multiple strategies to reduce educational debt for professional degrees and graduate students. Thanks to generous gifts from donors, more than 99 percent of our first-year students receive scholarships; more than half of all students receive scholarships. The average award for a first year student exceeds $18,500 with the mean indebtedness for graduates at $136,127. (The national average is $169,046.)

Goal 2.0 -Lead in Innovation and High-Impact Transdisciplinary Research to Advance the Health of Animals, People, and the Environment

The school’s annual research budget continues to increase with approximately $80.7 million in research funding for the 2017-2018 year. The school’s researchers form strong collaborative partnerships across campus, the entire UC system, UC Davis Health, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Bodega Marine Lab. Many of the projects supported by that funding crosses the boundaries of animal and human health, resulting in discoveries that benefit both.

One of the numerous scientific articles that Lairmore highlighted include a recent Journal of Clinical Investigations study, led by Dr. Sara Thomasy, on developing a nonhuman primate model of inherited retinal disease for therapeutic gene replacement/gene editing.

Goal 3.0 -Provide Cutting-Edge Clinical Programs that Deliver Exceptional Veterinary Services  and Support Premier Education, Advanced Specialty Training, and Collaborative Translational  Research

One of the main thrusts of this goal is establishing a new Veterinary Medical Center. Lairmore was pleased to announce that a matching fund for the All Species Imaging Center had been established. The large animal support facility is nearly ready for move in and the fundraising total to date is approximately $106.2 million.

Donors to the school continue to make a major impact on all aspects of the school’s mission to lead veterinary medicine and address societal needs. A few highlights from the past fiscal year include: 

•$9M Estate gift to advance feline research and care

•$1.5M Gift for feline care and disaster preparedness

•$500k Gift to fund a clinical trials staff support position

•$2.3M Estate gift to fund an Endowed Chair

Goal 4.0 -Advance the Well-Being of Animals and People in California and Around the Globe

The outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in California poultry this past year underscores the important role that the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System plays to protect animal and human health in the state. The CAHFS team has led diagnostics nationally, while protecting California locally. 

A recent investigation, led by Dr. Janet Foley, of an epidemic of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Mexico has implications for the spread of this tick-borne disease to the U.S. This type of scientific collaboration across borders allows impact of critical research discoveries world-wide.

Goal 5 -Promote a Vibrant and Diverse Community of Faculty, Staff and Students to Advance the Mission of the School in an Engaged and Respectful Community

Lairmore emphasized our strength as a community lies in building that community through values, respect and awareness for all. Resiliency is also key for everyone at the school—faculty, students, and staff alike—to reduce stress and feel a valued part of the overall whole. 

Lairmore closed by honoring retiring faculty and presenting Jo Cowen, volunteer extraordinaire of the California Raptor Center, with the Distinguished Service Award. 

Watch video recording of the presentation here.

Full powerpoint presentation available here.

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