Jerry Hodge is synonymous with Amarillo. For decades, the former mayor has played a crucial role in the growth and development of business in the community that anchors the Texas Panhandle.
The commitment of Hodge and his wife, Margaret, to generously support the School of Veterinary Medicine with a $10 million gift was recognized today (Feb. 4) by Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University System Chancellor and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell and other officials during ceremonies held at the Amarillo Club.
“Through his leadership as a businessman, mayor and philanthropist, Jerry Hodge’s impact on Amarillo and the Panhandle cannot be overstated,” Schovanec said. “His support of the School of Veterinary Medicine adds to the impressive history of his long-term commitment to the development of the region and helps ensure a critical need in Texas is filled. We are grateful for his generosity.”
A licensed pharmacist, Hodge turned a local pharmacy, Maxor Drugs, into Maxor National Pharmacy Services Corporation, serving as chairman and chief executive officer until his retirement in 2016. He served on the Texas State Board of Pharmacy from 1981 to 1987, including a stint as president from 1984 to 1985. He also served as chairman and vice-chairman of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Board and played a big role in affiliated minor-league baseball returning to Amarillo.
“Margaret and I are thankful to be able to partner with Texas Tech University on such an important initiative for Amarillo, the Panhandle, West Texas and all of Texas,” Hodge said. “A School of Veterinary Medicine is desperately needed to meet the increasing demand for veterinarians serving small and agricultural communities of Texas. Now is the time; Texas Tech is the university; and Amarillo is the place to address this issue.”
The gift supports construction and development of the future School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo and will help revolutionize veterinary services throughout Texas’ agricultural communities. Empowered by generosity, the school is designed to fulfill a growing need in these communities by shaping the future of veterinary education and enriching the state’s agricultural heritage.
The support of the Amarillo community has been vital to the Texas Tech University System, Texas Tech University and TTHUSC implementing a planned School of Veterinary Medicine in the city. Hodge joins The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation, Amarillo National Bank, Caviness Beef Packers, Happy State Bank, Cactus Feeders and other philanthropic leaders, along with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, that have recognized the need for and are supporting the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine, which is designed to address the need for more large-animal veterinarians in Texas in a cost-effective and innovative manner.
“Jerry and Margaret’s vision for their community has made significant impacts on the vibrancy of the Panhandle, as well as the growth of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s presence in Amarillo,” Mitchell said. “Their support of and belief in our mission for the School of Veterinary Medicine is an indicator that we are on track to establish a program with the best interests of this region at its core.”
In August, the Texas Tech University System’s Board of Regents advanced the university’s plans to establish a veterinary school by approving the new school, its degree plan and funding for preliminary designs for the school.
Construction of two new veterinary school buildings is expected to cost $89.82 million. More than $90 million has been raised in non-state funds for the project. Texas Tech is seeking approximately $17.35 million from the Texas Legislature in the 86th legislative session to help support initial operations.
The school is designed to enroll 60 students per year for a desired enrollment of 240 students for the four-year program. The school also would potentially serve 150-200 graduate students who are not seeking a doctorate in veterinary medicine, as well as an academic staff of 90.