The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is making a new graduate school available for students. The HBCU received state approval to create a school of veterinary medicine. It would be the second HBCU to offer veterinary studies in the country – the other being Tuskegee University in Alabama.

UMES plans on welcoming 100 graduate students in its inaugural year in a hands-on, accelerated three-year program. It is hoping to diversify the profession, as Black veterinarians make up 3% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We are hoping that our new school will open the door and create plenty of opportunities in an underserved field,” Moses Kairo, the agricultural and natural sciences dean at UMES, told USA Today.

The news comes as the HBCU has announced a $60-million fundraising plan, the largest financial campaign in the school’s history. Funds would help construct a building for the veterinary school and upgrade already existing facilities such as the farm.

UMES already has a pre-veterinary program, from which five to seven students graduate each year.

“I want to specialize in livestock and large animals, and that’s what the (vet) school hopes to bring,” Olivia Ludolph, a junior pre-vet student, told the news outlet, adding that she is ready to delay her studies to attend the graduate program if necessary. “I just want to be a part of something special.”

Discussions to add a veterinary school have been ongoing for at least 6 years. Preliminary ideas included adding a vet technology program but UMES president Heidi Anderson said to aim higher.

“She said, ‘Let’s shoot for the stars and see if we can get a super-big goal for Maryland and historically Black colleges and universities,’” Kimberly Braxton, an associate professor at UMES and the veterinary school’s interim founding dean, said.