WTAMU former president, wife $2.1 million gift to create ‘companion animal’ minor

VIDEO: WTAMU former president, wife $2.1 million gift to create ‘companion animal’ minor
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 6:26 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - West Texas A&M University received $2.1 million from President Emeritus Dr. Russell Long, and his wife, Natrelle Long to establish a companion animal minor.

The new minor degree will allow students from all majors to gain more knowledge of their pets.

The gift from the former president and his wife saw the need in shelters and wanted to make an effort to address the issue.

“We’ve, unfortunately, had the opportunity to observe the conditions of some animal shelter, treatment of animals, the lack of experience of some of the people who manage we wanted to try and do something with that,” said Russell Long.

After spending time looking in shelters, they believed the issue stemmed from lack of education.

“I went around the shelters in the area, I could give enough money to build a new building a new one, but it wouldn’t last,” said Natrelle Long.

The need isn’t only in shelters but also in schools many in pre vet majors having no education with these animals.

“Eighty percent of those going on to veterinary school are going to be interested or work on small animals, and they have had no companion animal background and an undergrad degree. There’s this huge, huge hole, not just here, but across the United States,” said Dr. Sarah Louise Newcomer, clinical assistant professor of agriculture and sciences.

WTAMU will open its companion animals minor in fall of 2023.