By Keith Miles
The unveiling of the 4,000-square-foot addition of the Florida A&M University College of Agriculture and Food Sciences Veterinary Technology Complex in Quincy, Fla., Tuesday is the culmination of more than a decade of planning and growth and gives students the opportunity to gain hands on skills, officials said.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the unveiling of the facility, FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said the expansion will make a difference beyond the boundaries of the Gadsden County complex.
“The program will have significant impact on the community,” said Robinson to the gathering of present and retired College of Agriculture and Food Sciences faculty and staff. “Students will go out into the world and do good work.”
Tiana Smith, a third-year vet tech student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hopes to be one of those who can make a difference. She said faculty members work closely with students and are very accessible.
“We’re like a family,” said Smith, who along with other students gets to work with goats, chickens, cows and pigs at the complex. “We’re very hands on,” she said.
The 4,000-square-foot addition was paid for with a $1 million grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Facilities Program, according to College of Agriculture Dean Robert W. Taylor, Ph.D.
“We are looking to fulfill our mission to students and beyond,” Taylor told the midday gathering.
There are currently 40 students in the four-year Veterinary Technology Program, which enrolled its first students in 2009, said Director Dr. Glen Wright, DVM.
The larger facility allows students to do more hands-on learning and to work with live animals. There is also a large anatomy floor, an expanded prep room and an expanded surgery suite.
The complex can now house dogs and cats for a short period of time. That could mean expanded relationships with area animal rescue organizations and local veterinary hospitals, some of which were lauded for their support during the ceremony.