🐶 New Jersey's first veterinary school is set to open in 2025 at Rowan University

🐱 About 70 students are expected to be part of the debut class

👨‍⚕️ This will be a four-year doctoral program with hands-on experience

GLASSBORO — With only 33 veterinary schools in the entire country, including only five on the East Coast, Rowan University is excited to open one---the first in New Jersey.

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro.

While actual construction has not yet started, the school is slated to open in the fall of 2025 pending accreditation approval, said Dr. Matthew Edson, dean of the veterinary school.

How did the vet school at Rowan get its name?

Gerald Shreiber is the owner of J&J Snack Foods in Mount Laurel and a lifelong animal lover and animal advocate. He donated $30 million for an endowment for scholarships at Rowan University. In honor of his kindness, the university decided to name the new vet school after him, Edson said.

Why is there so much excitement?

“It’s been a challenge for many, many years for New Jersey residents to have access to veterinary education, especially affordable veterinary education, so our ability to bring that to the state, help address the shortage of veterinarians here and nationally, and make sure that students from our state can afford it and find a spot, that’s very important to us, so we are really, really excited to get this off the ground,” Edson said.

He said Rowan was aware that there was a need in the state of New Jersey for veterinary education. Having access for students was important, so the school decided to look into it a few years ago, and now it’s coming to fruition.

Alexander Raths

What is the challenge?

There is not a lot that exists out there when it comes to veterinary schools, Edson said. That’s been one of the challenges where staffing is concerned.

With 33 schools and an average of about 100 students per school, there are not a lot of veterinarians out there, he said.

“As people retire, with the demand in this field, it’s hard to keep up with even graduating enough people,” Edson said.

Last year, about 280 New Jersey students applied to go to veterinarian school elsewhere in the country, but Edson said only about 50 percent of them found places.

He said the demand from students exists. There are just not enough seats in the programs across the country to meet the demand.

Edson said that is why Rowan University is so excited to be able to address that demand in New Jersey.

The surgery gallery at The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine, Rowan University
The surgery gallery at The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine, Rowan University

What is the program all about?

It’s a four-year doctoral program. Most students entering the program will be or should be coming in with a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate university program.

“We’re hoping to reserve at least 50 percent of the class for New Jersey residents. This is supported by the government and taxpayers, so we certainly want to give the taxpaying residents of New Jersey the advantage there,” Edson said.

He is looking to admit the first class of about 70 students in the fall of 2025 at The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine, but then grow that to about 90 students in the years to follow.

The university is also hoping to keep the vet school’s tuition cost-competitive not just for in-state students, but for out-of-state students, as well, Edson said. That means is to keep tuition rates at or below the national average.

The program is focused on creating career-ready veterinarians.

“We want people to come out and feel like the program has prepared them to enter practice. We want to make sure they can pursue internships and residencies, as well,” Edson said.

This is a student-centered program. Edson said he wants them to feel like they got their money’s worth, feel like they’re well-prepared for their careers, and feel like they’re well-supported through this program.

Jupiterimages, ThinkStock
Jupiterimages, ThinkStock

What will students learn?

It’s just about classroom experience, Edson said. They will get out in the field, visiting local farms, and other clinics.

“We do have a small animal hospital that’s going to be constructed so members of the community can bring their pets in for general care and specialty care. We have some outreach programs planned at other sites. So, this is a program that’s not just going to educate veterinary students, but also serve the community and the needs of the state as a whole,” Edson said.

What kind of student is the vet school looking for?

There are minimum class requirements as far as prerequisites that can be found on the website www.svm.rowan.edu.

Beyond that, they want students to be academically capable of getting through the very rigorous program. But Edson said they also want students who have diverse outside experiences.

The idea is to evaluate not just grades, but the candidate as a whole. For example, Edson said a candidate who was a bartender knows how to deal with people. So, after school, they’ll know how to better deal with clients.

“We want to make sure we have a diverse class from a bunch of different backgrounds who are not just going to be good veterinary students, but good veterinarians after graduation,” Edson said.

Applications to The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine at Rowan University are not yet open.

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