LSU Vet Med celebrated completion of new Stephenson Pet Clinic with unique ribbon “cutting”

SPC ribbon-cutting

From left, Tessa Stephenson Brand, Emmet Stephenson, and LSU President William Tate after March, a Belgian Malinois, “cut” the ribbon.

– Thomas Rooney


On Monday, May 9, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine hosted a “ribbon-cutting” ceremony for the new Stephenson Pet Clinic located adjacent to the LSU Vet Med building on Skip Bertman Drive in Baton Rouge. This 40,000-square-foot facility is the new home of our companion animal wellness efforts and many of our clinical services, including community practice (primary care), dermatology, integrative medicine, and ophthalmology. The actual “ribbon-cutting” was done by Mac, a Belgian Malinois owned by Jeannie Hansbrough, an LSU Vet Med veterinary technician on our surgical service.

Oliver Garden, BVetMed, PhD, DACVIM DECVIM-CA, LSU Vet Med dean, welcomed special guests and thanked the generous donors who helped make the building a reality. “Physical space can shape the ways in which we interact and the ways we accomplish that which is ours to do: to teach, to heal, to discover, to protect. Our new pet clinic is a place where there is a harmonious balance between form and function, where people, pets, and purpose are prioritized in the very bones of this building. The generosity of Emmet and Toni Stephenson, and all the other donors who made this dream possible, will be memorialized in the rich legacy of this wonderful facility will leave for generations to come.”

LSU President William F. Tate, IV, recognized Emmet and Toni Stephenson for their gift and the state for their contribution to the facility and praised LSU Vet Med for its biomedical work, which he described as “second to none.” President Tate mentioned that the Stephenson Pet Clinic was the realization of a dream conceived years ago and that truth, empathy, and courage are measures of success, and each is presented here at LSU Vet Med.

On behalf of the LSU Board of Supervisors, Chairman Rémy Starns stated, “I wish to extend my deepest appreciation to Governor John Bel Edwards and the members of the Louisiana Legislature for providing the matching funds to complement the generous support of Emmet and Toni Stephenson and the other donors who made this a reality. The Board appreciates the commitment of these supporters to the construction of this beautiful clinical facility. It is also visionary in that this clinic aids in the training of future veterinarians for our state and in the state of Arkansas.”

Emmet and Toni Stephenson, for whom the new building is named, have been generous supporters of LSU for many years. In 2007, they pledged $25 million to LSU. That pledge created the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at the EJ Ourso College of Business, as well as aiding the college’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Information Systems and providing support for LSU Vet Med. This new building will be transformational for our LSU Vet Med programs.

This facility is being constructed thanks to a combination of state funds and $4 million in private funds from more than 300 individual donors, with the primary donors being Emmet and Toni Stephenson. Construction on the current Veterinary Medicine Building was completed in 1978. LSU Vet Med has greatly increased the number of people, labs, and services since then, and this new clinic allows us to grow and improve services to our patients.

Emmet Stephenson stated, “Today is the culmination of 10 years of planning and effort in the making. Toni and I greatly appreciate the excellent care that LSU Vet Med provides to sick and injured animals, and we respect the ground-breaking medical research performed by the faculty and doctoral candidates.”

Governor John Bel Edwards commented that his family brought their Golden Retriever to the veterinary school when he got sick saying, “There was only one place we would bring him, and that was here. I figured if they could take care of Mike the Tiger, they could care for our dog.” Governor Edwards also lauded LSU Vet Med for its work providing crucial testing during the COVID pandemic. “When you invest in LSU Vet Med, you cannot know how it will pay off in the future. We should all aspire to excellence, and we have it here at LSU Vet Med.”

The ribbon-cutting took place on the lawn outside the Stephenson Pet Clinic. Dignitaries include Emmet Stephenson, his daughter Tessa Stephenson Brand and her husband Richard Brand, LSU Board of Supervisors Chair Rémy Starns, LSU Board of Supervisors Members Laurie Lipsey Aronson and Jack A. “Jay” Blossom, LSU President William Tate, and Governor John Bel Edwards held the ribbon. Mac, a Belgian Malinois owned by LSU Vet Med veterinary technician, breaks through the ribbon, running for a toy attached to the ribbon, commemorating the end of the building’s construction.

LSU Vet Med services will begin moving into the building in June, and LSU Vet Med will begin seeing patients in the facility in July.

About LSU Vet Med: Better lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the US and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.

By hadem