press release
Published: 15 October 2015

Queen opens University of Surrey’s new Vet School

The University of Surrey’s new School of Veterinary Medicine has been officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Royal Vet School tour

As part of the official opening, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness toured the £45 million School of Veterinary Medicine and visited the Large Animal Clinical Skills Building, where they met students undertaking equine examinations and working with livestock. The Royal Party also viewed a demonstration in the Biomechanics Laboratory, where they met Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, the “Supervet”, and dogs that have benefited from prosthetic limb surgery. Finally, they observed teaching sessions in the Clinical Skills Laboratory, where they met staff and students undertaking clinical skills training.

After the tour, The Queen, The Duke and assembled guests participated in a short ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new teaching facilities, at which Her Majesty unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. As The Royal Party left the School, Joey, the star of the theatre production War Horse said farewell to The Queen and The Duke by rearing up on his hind legs as the state limousine departed.

Professor Michael Kearney, Provost and Executive Vice-President of the University of Surrey commented:

"We were hugely honoured to welcome Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to the University of Surrey. It was a very special occasion that topped off an exceptional start to the academic year for the University, after the launch of our 5G Innovation Centre and achieving The Times and Sunday Times ‘University of the Year’ accolade.

"The School of Veterinary Medicine further cements our position as a world-class institution that is delivering cutting-edge teaching and research from state-of-the-art facilities. It will not only provide the next generation of sought-after veterinary graduates, but it will offer significant opportunities for collaboration between human and animal medical science professionals and public sector organisations."

Partners in education

The School of Veterinary Medicine, only the second vet school to open in the UK since 1965, embraces the 'One Health’ philosophy that human and animal health is intrinsically linked. The custom-built buildings are integral to the School’s innovative approach to veterinary education, which puts veterinary professionals, government agencies and industry at the heart of its teaching and research.  

Professor Lisa Roberts, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, added:

"It has taken five years of vision, enthusiasm and determination from many talented individuals for us to reach the official opening of a new and different School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey.

"Veterinarians play a pivotal role in animal and human disease control and prevention. The University’s veterinary programme encompasses global diseases and food security issues and facilitates progression into a broad range of careers in the veterinary profession. We are particularly proud of the innovative and modern curriculum we are delivering for our students in collaboration with partners across the veterinary sector in small and large animal practices, government and industry. 

"I would like to thank all of our partners for the time and effort they have put into this School, including the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which contributed £4.9m to the School’s clinical skills facilities. Their support has been vital to its creation and we look forward to continuing to work with them to train the next generation of veterinary experts."

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick
Professor Noel Fitzpatrick

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, one of the founding partners of the School of Veterinary Medicine, said:

"I had a vision where we would deliver a degree structure which was truly focused on what you dream about when you are sixteen years old, when you are desperate to become a vet. I fully intend to be part of a team that will kindle that fire throughout professional life to shine a light onto the world that badly needs ambassadors of purpose and integrity to be the caretakers of health on Earth, both now and for long after I’m gone and these new buildings will still be standing. This is our legacy, and we are intensely proud to be part of this evolution in health education."

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