The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Bicentenary Events 2023

William Dick Tarten

William Dick was the son of a farrier and had an early fascination with anatomy and medicine.  He attended the Royal Veterinary College, London where he was granted a veterinary diploma before returning to Edinburgh where he began teaching at age 25.

Within five years had founded the first veterinary school in Scotland and in 1833 the proceeds from his extensive veterinary practice allowed him to commission a building to house the teaching - located at Clyde Street in the New Town area of Edinburgh.

By the time of his death, aged 73, the Clyde Street Veterinary College had four tutors and 818 students.  Among his students were the founders of veterinary schools in Glasgow, Liverpool, Ireland, Canada, the USA and Australia.


11 March 2023: Fostering Compassion Workshops - 'Be a vet for a day'

Vet for a day
‘Be a vet for the day’ allows vulnerable children to get a taste of life as a vet.  Through our charity partners Fostering Compassion, we have arranged access for children to work alongside vet students and access the Clinical Skills training lab and teaching mannequins where they can put some skills into practice!

Invitation only

26 April 2023: Charnock Bradley Lecture 

Global Challenges in Food Systems: The role of science and biotechnology to be a force for good.

Samuel Thevasagayam, Director of Livestock and Aquaculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Samuel Thevasagayam, Director of Livestock and Aquaculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As the world continues to deal with the effects of Climate change, Covid and Conflict, we have never been reminded more acutely about the vulnerability of our food systems. Unfortunately the trends in population growth, poverty, inequality and consumer preferences shaped by self-interests risk the food systems becoming even more inadequate, inappropriate and inequitable for the future. Happily, there is real potential to address these threats through advances in science and biotechnology that can have transformational impact with multiplier effects required to meet the speed and scale of our food systems for the future. The key to realizing these potential is in the hands of scientists, who are smart, ambitious and equipped with the skills in places like the University of Edinburgh to make the difference. The presentation will use the perspective of the Livestock and aquaculture efforts within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agriculture Development program and highlight the incredible opportunity and the responsibility we as scientists have to be a force for good in the world.

Samuel Thevasagayam is the Director of Livestock and Aquaculture within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversees the implementation of foundation’s strategy in animal health, animal production, animal nutrition, animal systems and livestock off-take markets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Samuel started his career as a small animal clinician and lecturer at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He then moved to work in academic research, Pharmaceutical R&D (veterinary and human), Business Development and the not-for profit sector, living/working in four continents before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012.

Samuel graduated from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Gained his PhD in veterinary virology from the University of Hertfordshire for his research on foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Pirbright Institute and holds an MBA from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

6 May 2023: Guided Historical Walk of Veterinary Edinburgh

Saturday May 6th is our founder William Dick’s birthday. To honour this special day in our Bicentenary Year, The R(D)SVS Bicentenary Committee invites you to join a guided historical walk of veterinary Edinburgh, following the ‘Dick Vet Route’. We will take a weaving journey through Edinburgh’s historic closes, alleys and cobbled wynds to discover the city’s colourful veterinary and medical past. 

This event has passed, but you can follow the tour yourself by referring to the information here: Tour Route

17 May 2023: Campus Sports Fun Day

HfSA Building
Staff, students and tenants joined together for an early summer Sports Day.  There was be something for everyone, with an ice cream van and retro races followed by refreshments and pizza.

8 July 2023: Graduation Prizegiving

Newly graduated students, parents and guests came together for a special Bicentenary Graduation Celebration with prizegiving and a champagne reception.

13 September 2023: William Dick Memorial Lecture

Front of school
The  William Dick Memorial and Bicentenary Lecture, 2023  will be delivered by Professor David J Argyle, William Dick Professor and Vice Principal and Head of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh.
The lecture, entitled 'Glancing Back but Looking Forward: 200 Years of Veterinary Science building a future for global impact', will be delivered at the Roslin Institute Auditorium.

Book your tickets online now via Eventbrite

7-8 October 2023: Compassion Allways Conference

logo and website White
Scotland-based humane education charity Fostering Compassion is joining forces with American charity the Helen Woodward Animal Center to host its ‘Compassion Allways Conference’ as part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies bicentenary celebrations.
As well as presentations on all things compassion, the Helen Woodward Animal Center will be delivering their highly respected Business of Saving Lives workshops.  These provide invaluable advice to animal rescues and charities on how to maximise fundraising, marketing, PR and social media presence.

For further information or to reserve your place, visit the Compassion Allways Conference page or contact Lesley Winton at

9 October 2023: Vets and the City

Historical horse exam photograph at the Dick Vet

In this the bicentenary year of the ‘Dick Vet’, vet school senior lecturer Andrew Gardiner will give a talk on the city’s colourful veterinary history and William Dick's legacy. Find out how veterinary education started and developed in the city, what it was like to be a vet in 19th century Edinburgh, and how vet education has changed. The talk is part of Central Library's regular series for the general public and will take place from 6.30-7.30pm in Central Library’s George Washington Room. Visit Edinburgh Central Library’s Eventbrite listing to sign up for reminders and tickets. 

24 November 2023: Alumni Event

Old Vet School
Summerhall was home to the Dick Vet for over 100 years (1916-2011). We invite you join us on the anniversary of William Dick’s first lecture for an afternoon of reminiscing and sharing.
You will have the opportunity to come together with students past and present to explore Summerhall, learn about the building's history, and how it continues to serve Edinburgh and beyond in 2023.

Book your tickets online now via Eventbrite


25 November 2023: Bicentenary Gala Dinner

The bicentenary year of celebrations culminates in an evening at the National Museum of Scotland.  Friends and family of the School will enjoy a drinks reception followed by dinner and will be treated to a custom-made gin, distilled at our former home of Summerhall. 

Invitation only



Bicentenary Events 2023

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is one of the oldest veterinary schools in the world. Founded by William Dick in 1823, the School celebrates its bicentenary in 2023 marking 200 years of veterinary teaching. To celebrate we will be holding a range of activities throughout the year for our friends and family.