Alumni gather to mark School’s bicentenary
Dick Vet graduates travel from across the globe to join celebration at the School’s former premises.
Over 100 former students from around the world gathered in Edinburgh to celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at an alumni event.
The event was held at Summerhall – the home of the Vet School from 1916-2011 – and celebrated the School's history and achievements as well as highlighting the School’s vision for the future.
Since its establishment in 1823, the Dick Vet has grown to be a world leader in teaching, research, and clinical practice.
The alumni event offered an opportunity for Dick Vet graduates to reminisce about their student days and learn more about the School today.
Now an arts and entertainment venue, Summerhall has retained the majority of the original signage and structure of the building. This allowed former students to retrace their footsteps and visit many of the rooms they would have had classes and lectures in during their time at the Dick Vet.
Lunch was served in what was the Dissection Room and alumni were entertained with music from the School's in-house band, the Dick Vet Musicians. The School’s Dr Andrew Gardiner gave a short lecture on veterinary history in the old Demonstration Room, and images from the University’s One Health archive were displayed in the former Histology Lab.
The celebration attracted several class reunions, allowing Dick Vet alumni to reunite and share updates with their former fellow students. Three alumni also gave short talks, sharing their career journeys and reflecting on what it meant to them to be a Dick Vet graduate.
Rob Kelly completed his PhD at the Dick Vet in 2017, having previously qualified from the University of Liverpool. He worked in mixed practice before becoming a Senior Lecturer in Livestock Health and LiveIihoods. His research focused on controlling infectious diseases of livestock in low- and middle-income countries. He is currently Head of Clinical Education at CVS.
Mandisa Green qualified from the Dick Vet in 2008 and now works in emergency and critical care. She is a past president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and has served as an RCVS Knowledge trustee, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) ambassador and a volunteer with the charity Vetlife. She is Medical Director at emergency care provider Vets Now.
Sheila Voas graduated from the Dick Vet in 1988. She spent 20 years in mixed practice before joining the Scottish Government in 2007. She was appointed to the role of Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer in 2012. Sheila is a Fellow of the RCVS and was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Edinburgh in 2023.
The alumni event was part of a weekend of celebrations to mark 200 years since the School's founder, William Dick gave his first veterinary lecture at Calton Convening Rooms in Edinburgh.
During the weekend, 400 students, staff, alumni and friends of the School also gathered for a Gala Dinner to celebrate the bicentenary and raise money for Dick Vet charity All4Paws.
The current and previous Head of School welcomed alumni to the Summerhall event.
It is wonderful to be able to connect with our vibrant alumni community at this event. As the new Head of School I am beginning a new chapter alongside this year’s bicentennial cohort of students. I am proud to lead the School in its unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence in veterinary education.
I am delighted to welcome so many former students back to Summerhall and their alma mater. It has been a tremendous year celebrating the School's rich 200-year-history and I am excited for the future of the School under Lisa’s excellent leadership.
William Dick was born the son of a farrier in 1793. He had a love of horses and science, particularly anatomy. He attended comparative anatomy lectures at Edinburgh Medical School before studying veterinary medicine at the Royal Veterinary College in 1817, completing the course in three months.
He founded the Vet School in 1823 and gave lectures at Calton Convening Rooms at Waterloo Place before commissioning a building to house teaching in Clyde Street, which opened in 1833. The School then moved to new premises at Summerhall in 1916, and relocated to Easter Bush Campus in 2011.
About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.
The School comprises:
We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.