The start of the new academic year is always a time of rejuvenation and renewal, with important decisions about new directions being made that will determine the course of a lifetime. So it is with individuals, and so it is with the College of Veterinary Medicine.
I want to begin by welcoming the class of 2020. This year’s incoming class includes students from 12 other states and Puerto Rico in addition to our home-grown North Carolinians. We’re delighted to have you all here. You can justly take pride in the knowledge that you have come through a highly competitive admissions process, and your presence here is a validation of all the work and preparation you have invested in getting to this point. The collective grade point average for the entire class of 100 is 3.70, high by any standard. When you look around at your fellow students, you are looking at the future leaders of your profession. The coming days will be full of fascinating discoveries and demanding challenges, all of which are designed to transform you into the skilled medical professional you have envisioned yourself becoming. You’re on your way.
We also find ourselves at the start of an exciting new phase of development for our CVM facilities, which will expand our opportunities for growth, service and discovery. While construction presents a few short-term challenges, the end result is an enhanced experience for students, faculty, staff, partners, and clients alike. While we have far-reaching plans for major renovation and expansion over the years to come, the immediate focus is on the current construction of the new Biomedical Partnership Center under way on the southwest corner of the CVM campus.
When completed in the spring of 2017, the Biomedical Partnership Center will be a two-story building, with the second floor providing additional space for our CVM researchers and other NC State colleges to expand their research work and develop new partnerships. The first floor will be available for lease by industry partners and others, and represents an important step in the development of the Centennial Biomedical Campus concept. It is an extension of the mixed-use university property idea in which academia, government and industry can collaborate on biomedical applications for both animals and humans. More than a building, the Biomedical Partnership Center is a concrete example (along with lots of steel, glass and other materials) of the Think and Do mission of NC State.
Another major undertaking that we will take on this year is the review and renewal of our CVM strategic plan. The first version of the plan during my tenure as Dean was completed four years ago and, as planned, it is time to refresh and update the blueprint that will guide us through this next critical phase of our progression. To grow our leadership position in veterinary medicine, we must be strive to be on the cutting edge of science, technology, clinical practice, and pedagogical disciplines. We are a different college today than we were four years ago, we have grown, changed, and learned from the experience of that change. We need to bring this new intelligence, experience and insight of our remarkable team of professionals to bear on the question of where we need to be not just today, but five years from now. Our goal is simply to be an institution that is second to none in the world. The task before us is to see to it that when the class of 2020 is graduating, the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine is a world-class institution on the cutting edge of its field, providing an exceptional education to our students, exceptional care to our patients and their owners, exceptional research for the benefit of both animal and human health, and with our sights still focused firmly on the limitless future possibilities for our profession.