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Huntington University adds veterinary nursing program

The Indiana university’s ag school is expanding its offerings and growing in number of students.

Darrell Boone

March 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Huntington University animal science students pet sheep in the Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center
LEARNING ANIMAL CARE: These Huntington University animal science students are gaining practical experience in the Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center. Darrell Boone

Huntington University started its ag program eight years ago. The latest addition this fall will be a veterinary nursing program, offered in partnership with Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The new offering will be a dual-degree program in which students receive an associates of applied science degree in veterinary nursing, offered digitally through Purdue’s Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning Program. The vet nursing program will be offered concurrently to students who are pursuing their bachelor’s degree in animal health on the Huntington campus. The vet nursing associates degree will be from Purdue, while the bachelor’s degree in animal health will be from Huntington.

Nate Perry, managing director for Huntington’s Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies, believes this dual-degree program is the only one like it in the nation. An animal science facility with multiple species on campus plus a beef cattle operation that the university manages will give students plenty of hands-on experiences.

“It was a great next step for us to partner with Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which is very well known and respected,” Perry says. “This allows us to step into a new space. We always try to think through, ‘What does the marketplace need?’ and it didn’t take very long to figure out that there’s a real need for veterinary nurses in vet clinics today.

“We already have several veterinarians and clinics very supportive of this new program. They said they would be very willing to have our vet nursing students do their clinicals with them.”

Perry adds that the dual-degree program will open a wide range of career paths. Besides veterinary nursing, other options could include research, education and working with pharmaceutical companies.

“We believe this program, with these two majors combined, will really gear students up for success in these areas,” he says. Huntington is taking applications for fall 2023 and has already received several.

Huntington ag program grows

When Huntington University’s Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies launched in 2015, it offered an agribusiness major with various tracks. One year later, ag education for vocational-agriculture teachers was started. Then in 2020, majors in crop science/agronomy and animal science were offered, and the Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center was constructed on campus. Agriculture has become the fourth-largest academic department on campus.

“There just aren’t a lot of Christ-centered institutions that offer agriculture,” Perry says. “We’re one of the few that have working farms, which appeals to a lot of prospective students.”

Perry says that initially, most of Huntington’s ag students came from northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.

“We now have prospective students visit us from all over the country,” he says. “In this year’s freshman class, we have students from California and Oregon, and we have a transfer student from Ontario, Canada.”

Perry says another facet of the program that has worked well is internships. While all students are required to take at least one internship, many students take two or three.

Many Huntington students are offered jobs out of those internships. Huntington grads are working for major seed companies, in ag lending and banking, at farm machinery dealerships, in the nutrition side and are pursuing an advanced degree in graduate school.

“We believe our program has done a good job of preparing our graduates for either the workforce, or for further training and education,” Perry says.

Boone writes from Wabash, Ind.

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