Photo by Venice Mincey

The best advice I ever heard is: When we were in the early stages of developing the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine,  I visited a relatively new veterinary school in Australia that seemed to hold some pointers for us. This school was the second public program to be established in the Australian state of New South Wales.  

One of their founders told me to embrace being the second public veterinary school in Texas. This seemingly off-handed advice was the most liberating advice we received. It meant we didn’t have to replicate what the first school was doing all across Texas. We could focus on a narrow purpose. And that is what we did. Our purpose is simple: serve the needs of rural and regional communities.  

My three most recommended books are: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, by David Hoffman; Wittgenstein’s Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow; The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown. 

To me, success means: From my professional perspective, success means a thriving school in which we find fulfillment, deeply embrace a sense of place, and work hand-in-hand with our community. Like so many of us, personal success for me revolves around family.  

People who know me might be surprised that I: enjoy cycling. Years ago, I completed a century ride at the Hotter’N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls.  

My biggest pet peeve is: people snapping chewing gum. In most places, it is easy enough to move away, but it is my absolute pet peeve when someone is snapping gum next to me on a plane.  


Everyone in Amarillo needs to experience: Australia. (My accent doesn’t come through in print, but I’m originally from there.)

If I could change any one local thing it would be: dedicated bike trails to connect areas and neighborhoods all across Amarillo. We have a great climate for cycling and dedicated trails—distinct from bike lanes on roads—are very successful in other cities. These would be a great way to leisurely explore all of what Amarillo has to offer.  

This city is amazing at: investing in itself and its people. Amarillo is like no other community in Texas, and likely like no other community in the country. In this sense, Amarillo punches above its weight. The only limit on Amarillo is how big and broad it dares to vision.  

My favorite place in Amarillo is: Holy cow, it is hard to narrow down to one place. From The Drunken Oyster, Crush, La Campana, Strata and Palace for coffee, to places like Verdure, Hodgetown, Dong Phuong Oriental Market and the Palo Duro Canyon, Amarillo just has so much to offer.  

But if I had to land on one, I would say the School of Veterinary Medicine. It represents what is so good about Amarillo. The School proudly calls Amarillo home because so many from our community, local foundations, and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation saw what it could do for Amarillo for generations to come. This is a testament to what can be done when we work together.  

A local organization I love right now: The Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, the Amarillo animal shelter (part of Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare), and Heal The City do so much good. They are all different, but play such an important role in Amarillo and the Panhandle.