A New School of Veterinary Medicine.
For Arkansas.


Our Vision

Veterinary care is essential to a thriving Arkansas. Sadly, our state ranks 49th in the United States for available veterinary professionals. Ten percent of counties in Arkansas have no registered vets at all. This shortage has a daily impact on pet owners, livestock farmers, and overworked veterinarians. And yet there are no veterinary schools in our state to meet these needs. It’s time to solve this challenge. For Arkansas.

Lyon College has launched a historic effort to build our state’s first School of Veterinary Medicine. This college, part of a new Lyon campus in Little Rock, will train countless veterinarians and animal care practices ready to serve Arkansas’ hundreds of thousands of animal owners.

This is a rare opportunity to make a vital, enduring investment in the health of our animals, the career pathways of Arkansas students, and the vitality of our state.

We invite you to take a closer look at our plans. Learn more about the need for veterinary education in Arkansas, and why now is the right time to realize this bold vision.

Our goals are clear. Momentum is building. Join us—early gifts from farsighted donors like you make this vision possible.

The School of Veterinary Medicine

The future of animal health in Arkansas starts here.

Lyon students will graduate prepared to meet the high demand for animal care.

In building a new college, there are three key phases. First, the development of goals and curricula. Then the plan for accreditation. Finally, the infrastructure: the physical space and the expert faculty who will support a top-quality education. Good news: all three are in place or firmly underway.

new veterinary school opened in the United States between 1978 and 2014.

Our plan is for students to learn through a wealth of real-world experiences. The School of Veterinary Medicine will use a new model of clinical training in partnership with Heifer International.

Students will experience more than 1,000 clinical rotations over the three-year program and benefit from the innovative, integrated “One Health” curriculum.

An accelerated program

We’re designing our degree to lower tuition and debt burdens for students. This distinctive model will offer an accelerated three-year, year-round program that produces practice-ready graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed.

Part of a broader approach to healthcare

The “One Health” approach recognizes that animal health and human health are deeply interdependent, and emphasizes collaboration across disciplines. This is where Lyon’s legacy of liberal arts education is so relevant. Our rigorous academic programs, grounded in a liberal arts philosophy and community-based learning, produce outstanding graduates.

A model for the future

With several already-committed partners, Lyon College will provide students unmatched practical experiences and real-world rotations. In fact, thanks to unique industry partnerships forged as part of this vision, our goal is for Lyon College’s School of Veterinary Medicine to become a national model for animal health grounded in hands-on learning.

Part of a larger effort

The School of Veterinary Medicine is just one component of the Lyon College Institute of Health Sciences, which at launch will also include a new School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Little Rock and an Allied Health Center on Lyon’s Batesville campus.

The Little Rock Campus

The next generation of veterinary professionals will get their start here.

Our vision combines an extraordinary facility that already exists with new, state-of-the-art construction, launching our program in Little Rock’s vibrant East Village, home to plentiful cultural, culinary, and creative amenities.

The new campus will take over and expand the site currently occupied by Heifer International, a global nonprofit. This growing, mixed-use neighborhood, anchored by the Clinton Presidential Library, will also be the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s new state-of-the-art music center.

The building will be reconfigured to offer the classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, and clinical spaces needed for the dynamic programming being developed. And yet, as excited as we are about the facility, what happens inside is what truly matters.

When completed and accredited, the Lyon College School of Veterinary Medicine will provide students:

  • Greater access to new veterinary technology.
  • The expertise of active practitioners from the nation’s largest veterinary practice groups.
  • Diverse onsite rotation experiences.
  • A strategic local partner, Heifer International, with readily available small-animal and large-animal resources.
  • A large farm with an extensive herd for clinical practice.
7,000sq ft

learning lab

5,000sq ft

clinical skills simulation laboratory

30,000sq ft

of auditorium, didactic teaching space, & classroom learning

Our Impact

Arkansas is poised for transformation. But that requires improvements in health education.

An industrious state, a growing state, a scenic state. Now, it’s time to invest in a healthy state—for humans and animals alike.


No longer forced to choose from out-of-state colleges, the next generation of veterinarians will learn, practice, and serve where they’re needed most: in their home state of Arkansas. And they’ll enter the profession with less debt than their counterparts who left the state to earn their degrees. That’s a win-win for local students and communities alike.

Local Business

Veterinary practices, of course, require a range of supporting professional services, including clinical and administrative assistance. Jobs like these help fuel local economies. And every practice will depend on robust supply chains of both technical equipment and day-to-day supplies.


Within a decade, new veterinary practices will be established throughout the state, providing the care needed by pet owners, farms, and other animal managers. Trained in clinical care, epidemiology, microbiology, environmental science, and other specialties, these new practitioners will bring improved animal health around the state. Healthier animals, happier humans.

Veterinary Industry

An infusion of new and ambitious professional talent will bring even more energy to an industry that must keep up with growing demand. From individual offices to larger practices, veterinary care in general will benefit from stronger competition and collaboration.

From the president

There are no veterinary schools in Arkansas. By providing in-state options, students will no longer need to leave the state to pursue these careers. Help us build a workforce of ‘Made in Arkansas’ veterinarians who are highly trained, practice ready, and willing to work in rural locations.”

Melissa Taverner, PhD
Lyon College

Lyon College is entering veterinary education at a time of profound need, challenge, and opportunity. It is an exciting time to contribute to the advancement of veterinary education and healthcare in a world that benefits so much from its animals and the people who care for them.”

Dr. Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP
Founding dean of the Lyon College School of Veterinary Medicine; professor emerita and dean emerita of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University.

Rarely does the opportunity come along to create a brand new vet school, one without preconceived notions of how things were done in the past, one with an open-ness to create a modern vet school, one designed for our future, that leverages contemporary technology, sound science, novel ideas, experiential learning, that purposefully creates a literal community of learners and teachers to iteratively innovate inside and out.”

Jason W. Johnson, DVM, MS, DACT
Vice President, Global Chief Medical Officer, IDEXX

Little Rock is poised to be a hub of future economic growth in central Arkansas, we are excited to build upon the foundation that Heifer International has made in promoting health solutions for Arkansas and the world.”

Merritt Dake
CEO/Founder, OneHealth

Clinics are experiencing challenges meeting the needs of their staff, clients, and patients. We need more qualified veterinarians, and we needed them yesterday. I am beyond thrilled about Lyon’s commitment to help solve this problem and for the exciting opportunities in store for our profession and state.”

Dr. Ashley Mounts, DVM
Relief Veterinarian, Consulting Services

Veterinary medicine is of great importance to Arkansas, and indeed to the world. Veterinarians function in a multitude of ways, including public health, production medicine, zoonotic disease identification and prevention, and companion animal medicine, just to name a few. Given the rural nature of our state, veterinarians commonly interface where wildlife, domestic animals, and humans meet. They are invaluable in promoting the flourishing of all three. Thoughtfully optimizing the number and quality of veterinarians in the state is essential.

Dr. Matt Gunter, ’97, DVM
Batesville Animal Medical Center

Our Partners

Education Group

Lyon College is collaborating with OneHealth Education Group to help ensure success when the school opens. OneHealth applies private-sector capital and consultant solutions to support the launch of professional health science programs.

Heifer International

This global nonprofit works to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting farmers and their communities. They work in 21 countries to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that help guarantee a living income. Our new School of Oral Health & Dental Medicine will share space in Heifer International’s Little Rock-based headquarters.

Join Us

It’s time to make a difference in the lives of our students, our alumni, and all of Arkansas.

All we need is you.

Philanthropists have the opportunity to make a deep and enduring mark on the health of our residents, the career pathways of Arkansas youth, and the vitality of our state.

Lyon College has joined forces with respected partners in the healthcare sector to establish an innovative veterinary school. And early capital and capacity-building investments from farsighted donors will make this vision possible.

The catalyst that will bring these components together is the passionate philanthropic support of those who care about Arkansas’ future. We seek donors who share a vision for Arkansas as a healthy, thriving, desirable place to live and work. Who value the history and traditions that have built the distinctive culture of this state and of Lyon College. And who are ready to realize that vision, together. For Arkansas.

We invite you to help make this vision a reality. For the future of Arkansas.

Learn how you can assist today.

Join Us

To get involved please contact David Hutchinson at (870) 307-7208 or david.hutchinson@lyon.edu

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