RCVS marks 175th anniversary with new initiatives

Yesterday, Monday, April 15, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) marked the 175th anniversary of its first meeting, announcing a series of new initiatives.

The colleges’s fist meeting took place on April 15, 1844, a month after it received its Royal Charter.

The college was established on the back of frustration with the poor quality of veterinary education at the time, when many qualified vets were arguing for reform.

This first Royal Charter recognised the ‘veterinary art’ as a profession, established the RCVS Council with elected members, and gave the college power to administer examinations, which students of the then veterinary colleges in London and Edinburgh had to pass if they wished to be styled veterinary surgeons.

“We are proud that, 175 years later, we are still fulfilling these original charter functions, and considerably more besides,” said Lizzie Lockett, CEO of the RCVS.

“Take, for example, our ‘Mind Matters’ and leadership Initiatives, which may not have been envisaged at the time, but ensure we continue to be relevant, and support a modern, forward-thinking profession,” she added.

Lockett continued: “Meanwhile, it’s fitting that we are celebrating the 175th anniversary in the year in which the establishment’s veterinary degree course was ranked number one globally in the QS [educational institution] rankings.”

The RCVS is launching a number of initiatives to mark the anniversary.

Firstly, the college intends to digitise and show-case the original petition letters from the 250 vets, written in the 1840s, which gave rise to its formation.

The college will also publish an interactive digital timeline of the key events in the history of the veterinary profession over the past 175 years.

Finally, the RCVS will commission a long-term research project over the course of the next 25 years; a number of veterinary students will be selected and their careers will be followed over that time-span to see how they fared in relation to their original “hopes and aspirations”.