The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis is taking one of the lead roles in the university’s new $2 billion fundraising campaign, “Expect Greater: From UC Davis, For the World.” This marks the largest philanthropic endeavor in the university’s history, and the school’s 25% portion of the goal is also its largest fundraising challenge. This bold goal will help create the future Veterinary Medical Center, where clinical innovation, transformational research, and compassionate healing come together.
The school’s portion of the $2 billion goal includes a decade-long campaign to raise more than $500 million to create a new veterinary hospital that sets the gold standard of care while defining advanced clinical research and education. The school’s existing Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital opened in 1970 and was built to see 3,000 patients per year. While there have been additions to the facility over the years—increasing the square footage by about 60%—the hospital’s caseload has increased more than 1,600% to more than 50,000 cases per year.
“This caseload increase is stretching our personnel and resources to an extreme extent,” said Dr. Karl Jandrey, associate dean of Admissions and Student Programs and a critical care specialist in the hospital’s Emergency Room. “Our large and diverse caseload provides a tremendous learning environment for our students and house officers, but we have to ensure those opportunities are not jeopardized by the limited footprint in which we train them.”
“It is clear that a new hospital is necessary,” said Dean Michael Lairmore. “This campaign, led by donations from our community partners, will enable us to envision a new standard of excellence in veterinary medicine, innovation, and discovery.”
The “Expect Greater” campaign will harness the power of philanthropy to propel the school—already the #1 ranked veterinary school in the world—into a level of veterinary care, research, and advancement that meets the challenges of an increasing caseload; that allows for the adoption of the latest technology in veterinary medicine; and that provides the infrastructure and efficient services to facilitate translational research and breakthroughs.
“Expect Greater” launches at a time of growing philanthropic momentum at UC Davis – the last four years have been the strongest for fundraising in its history. Since the campaign’s quiet phase began in July 2016, the university’s closest donors and friends have given $1.2 billion toward the goal, with more than $250 million of that raised by the veterinary school. Now UC Davis is reaching out to the entire university community and beyond to help make a greater impact on the world.
Expertise for California and the World
As the global leader in veterinary medicine, UC Davis leads the way in research, innovation, and clinical care breakthroughs. The school is at the forefront of serving California’s animals, especially in times of great need.
With the state in turmoil caused by raging wildfires and a global pandemic outbreak, the hospital has remained open to serve animal owners. In just the past two months alone, the school’s Veterinary Emergency Response Team has treated thousands of animals at evacuation centers and performed search and rescue missions in the fire zones, while the hospital has treated dozens of some of the most critically burned animals. Additionally, the school recently created the Wildlife Disaster Network to care for wildlife affected by wildfires and other disasters.
Beyond the creation of the Veterinary Medical Center, fundraising efforts will focus on supporting students financially. UC Davis is already a leader in scholarship support, helping to make it the veterinary school with the third-least median debt for its graduates. Low debt makes it easier for new veterinarians to choose options that further benefit society, such as going into public service or pursuing research careers or medical specialties.
The school is also raising efforts to create endowed chairs and professorships, demonstrating support for the diverse, world-class faculty who make UC Davis a premier research and clinical institution. These positions enable the school to recruit and retain the world’s top minds in veterinary medicine – faculty who will have the sustained funding to maximize their impact, all while teaching the next generation of veterinarians and veterinary specialists.
Donors are also supporting research and the work of the school’s centers and institutes. For example, with a One Health approach to medicine, the university conducts groundbreaking research at the nexus of animal and human medicine – the focus of the school’s One Health Institute. With donor support, UC Davis veterinarians and physicians routinely collaborate on research and clinical care projects that cross veterinary and human medicine boundaries to advance the health of both humans and animals.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary and human health researchers quickly began collaborating on diagnostic and vaccine testing. Meanwhile, PREDICT—One Health Institute’s pandemic prevention and response program—is part of an international effort to provide emergency support to collaborating countries in response to coronavirus spread.
The “Expect Greater” campaign will strengthen all of these entities and help UC Davis continue its One Health mission of advancing the health of animals, humans, and the environment.
Future Veterinary Medical Center Goals
Inspired by UC Davis clients’ devotion to their animals, the future Veterinary Medical Center will push the limits of veterinary medicine to increase knowledge and provide optimal care. School leadership envisions a comprehensive center for veterinary medicine unlike any in the world: a center of healing where clients trust that their beloved animals will be treated with unparalleled expertise and compassion; a center of innovation where clinicians, scholars, and students collaborate in integrated teams to advance the health of animals, people, and the environment; and a center of discovery where transformational research breaks new ground in areas from stem cell therapies to food safety.
The multi-phased Veterinary Medical Center campaign commenced over the past two years with several Phase I renovation projects in the hospital—including six new examination rooms, a feline-only suite, laundry and support facilities, locker rooms, and restrooms—and the construction of a new Large Animal Support Facility.
In 2021, the school looks to continue Phase I with commencing construction of the All Species Imaging Center, where the world’s largest veterinary radiology team will diagnose patients, and train students and residents with the most advanced imaging technologies in medicine – including CTs, MRIs, and PET scanners.
Greater in scope than any previous school expansion, the Veterinary Medical Center campaign will then focus on transforming the Large Animal Clinic into three distinct treatment areas – the Livestock and Field Services Center, the Equine Surgery and Critical Care Center, and the Equine Performance Center.
“The equine specialists at UC Davis have provided the very best care to so many horses, including our own,” stated long-time clients and donors Robert and Colleen Haas. “The Equine Performance Center will take their capacity for assessment, treatment, and clinical research to an even higher level and will be a tremendous resource to horse owners everywhere.”
Plans for an entirely updated Small Animal Hospital will be the final phase of the decade-long project, coming in the late 2020s and more than doubling the size of the current clinical space for small animals.
To learn more about the Veterinary Medical Center, please see the campaign website.