New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy noted that the need for veterinary care in the Garden State isn’t confined to companion animals, but extends to large animals and livestock.
With a dip of its arm, a backhoe dug its bucket into the soil in rural Harrison Township, New Jersey. A tent protected the crowd from rain as onlookers cheered the physical milestone in the creation of the Garden State’s first collegiate veterinary school.
Rowan University held a groundbreaking ceremony April 28, 2023, in celebration of its new Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine. The fanfare included visits from NJ Gov. Phil Murphy, and NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who joined Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand, PhD; Matthew Edson, DVM, CVPM, MRCVS, the school’s founding dean, and other notable guests in addressing the crowd. In his speech, the governor congratulated the university and noted that with the creation of the veterinary school, “Rowan will become only 1 of 2 universities in the entire United States of America to offer a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), a Doctor of Medicine, and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees.”
The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine is also expected to help address the national demand for veterinarians, Edson noted. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges has predicted a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians in the nation within 2 decades, according to Rowan officials. With currently only 33 veterinary schools in the nation, and just 5 on the east coast, the new school is also expected to help keep New Jersey resident who aspire to become veterinarians in state, while also drawing students from out-of-state.1
Rowan plans to welcome its first class of 60-70 veterinary students in 2025. The school’s accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education is currently pending, and a consultative site visit is scheduled for next month.1
During his speech, Murphy extolled the value of life sciences, included life-improving and life-saving practices and technologies for humans and animals. “For so many of us, our pets are our family. They’re there to celebrate good time with and they’re there to lift our spirits when we’re down,” said Murphy.
The governor also noted that the need for veterinary care in New Jersey isn’t confined to companion animals and exotic pets, but also extends to large animals and livestock. Murphy emphasized the Garden State’s role as a center for equestrian sport and that the state maintains a strong agricultural heritage. “We are, in fact, the Garden State. We must never forget that. So, the need for trained vets reaches the length and breadth of New Jersey,” he said.
The ceremony also acknowledged the school’s namesake, businessman Gerald B. Shreiber, who provided a gift of $30 million to the university in support of animal welfare. “Over the past decade, Gerry Shreiber has witnessed the growth of our institution and has supported our transformation with a dedication to student success through scholarships and the Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program,” said Houshmand, in a prepared statement.1
“His generous gift demonstrates his passion—for education and for animals. His support will give our future veterinary students extraordinary opportunities to receive the best education and supports possible to improve the quality of life for the animals they treat.”
Addressing the crowd gathered for the ceremony, Edson also spoke to the impact of Shreiber’s gift on future students. “Our industry folks come out with a large amount of debt and that’s a struggle. We don’t want to be that program. Donations and philanthropy, like Gerry’s provided for us, is really going to allow us to fill that gap. Our students can pursue the careers they want after they graduate and not just a paycheck,” he said.
In addition to awarding the DVM degree, the Rowan's veterinary school will offer graduate programs that include a Master of Science degree and PhD in veterinary biomedical science; an accelerated Bachelor of Science/DVM pathway program; and an accelerated DVM/MBA program. The school will also collaborate with nearby Rowan College of South Jersey for an associate degree in veterinary technology program and offer internships and residency programs through additional partnerships.1
Rowan University celebrates $30 million gift for New Jersey’s first veterinary school. News release. Rowan University. April 28, 2023. Accessed April 28, 2023.