It’s been three years in the making: The inaugural class at the University of Arizona’s College of Veterinary Medicine is getting ready to graduate.

“I’m always really emotional thinking about the day we celebrate the class of graduating students, says Dean Julie Funk. “Many of them have been dreaming of being a veterinarian since they were young children.

Kim Lewis says the new program opened new doors.

“I got my cap and gown the other day and it was just like this is really happening, says student Kim Lewis. “About the 13 years ago was the first time I applied to a vet school.

The college opened in 2020during the pandemicso the program has come with many ups and downs.

“Graduating the inaugural class is a culmination of a lot of hopes and dreams,” Funk Says. “This college started in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

The fast paced program isnt for everyone, according to Funk.

“It’s accelerated. We do our program in three years instead of four. You really have to have that compassion, and you really have to be dedicated to it.”

In addition, animals must be your passion.

“I’ve always had animals in my life. I’ve always worked with animals,” Lewis tells me. “I worked in vet med for a long time as a technician.”

I remember even being five or six years old just tromping around in the desert with my aunt just asking her all these questions like what kind of bird is that, whats that coyote, whats that javalina,” says student Darah Sumue. “And I was just fascinated with it and it never went away.

Both Kim Lewis and Darah Sumue have jobs lined up after graduation.

Vets are in high demand around the country and so are spots in the UArizona School of Veterinary Medicine.

In fact for this last class we had over 2 thousand applications for 110 seats, Funk said.

So as Lewis and Sumue become veterinarians this summer, there will be hundreds of students following in their footsteps at the University of Arizona.

This has been a long term dream for the state of Arizona and for the university of Arizona, Funk said.