ASU trustees approve the creation of a new veterinary school


The planned College of Veterinary Medicine at Jonesboro will be the first of its kind in Arkansas.

Credit: Elnur/Adobe Stock

Credit: Elnur/Adobe Stock

The Arkansas State University (ASU) System Board of Trustees voted to approve the creation of a College of Veterinary Medicine in Jonesboro at its regular meeting on the ASU Three Rivers campus earlier this month. The new school is being eyed for a potential opening in fall 2025, according to Arkansas State Chancellor Todd Shields.1

A Veterinary Wellbeing Study conducted in late 2021 by Merck Animal Health and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) revealed a shortage of qualified staff to be one of the main challenges facing veterinary practices.2 The new Arkansas college, which will offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, will help meet substantial state and national demand for additional veterinarians, said System President Chuck Welch, in an organizational release.1

The veterinary school will also escalate Arkansas State and Jonesboro as a destination for professional science education and research, Welch noted. The campus is home to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute and New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. And, in the same meeting the veterinary school was approved, the ASU board voted to upgrade its nursing program with an $8 million facility upgrade and expansion in Malvern.1

“We believe Arkansas State will attract even more undergraduate students who want to pursue degrees in science,” Welch said, in the release.1 “They will soon have the opportunity to stay in Jonesboro for a seamless transition to vet school in addition to existing options of medical school, advanced nursing programs, physical therapy and other outstanding master’s and doctoral programs.”

Arkansas is 1 of 19 states that is without a veterinary school.1 However, it will soon join another state currently without a veterinary school in opening their first one: New Jersey. The Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine, based in Glassboro, New Jersey, is expected to offer the state's first DVM degree, with its inaugural class also slated for fall 2025.3

Graduates of the Arkansas State program will be qualified to work as veterinarians in Arkansas and elsewhere following a 4-year program of study. The degree program curriculum will be addressed by the Graduate Council, then application will be made to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education, Shields said, in the release.1

Accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education will also be required for the Arkansas State program.1 In New Jersey, Rowan’s veterinary college received provisional institution membership to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges in January 2023 with full membership pending accreditation.3


  1. Trustees approve veterinary school plan at A-State, new nursing facility at ASU Three Rivers. News release. March 10, 2023. Accessed March 23, 2023.
  2. Merck Animal Health's third veterinarian wellbeing study reveals increased health challenges and psychological distress among veterinarians. News release. January 18, 2022. Accessed March 23, 2023.
  3. AAVMC adds Rowan University as a provisional member. dvm360. January 20, 2023. Accessed March 23, 2023.
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