The Post Graduate Committee in Veterinary Science was formed in 1961 by a group of forward-thinking veterinarians who recognised during the 1950s the growing need for continuing veterinary education.
This led in 1965 to the formation of the Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science (PGF) at the University of Sydney, established under the authority of the University’s Senate and governed by a Council elected by its members. These initiatives resulted in the world's first organisation dedicated to postgraduate veterinary education. From its inception the PGF enjoyed the support and participation of members of the New Zealand veterinary profession. The first activity was organizing the delivery of regular refresher courses of two to five days’ duration. In the first year two courses were held and by 1996 there were 68. Over the first 50 years, the organisation has evolved to cater for the changing needs of the veterinary profession and to accommodate the rapid changes in technology. Conferences and seminars have been supplemented by a range of practical workshops, short online courses and the ever popular distance education courses.
In 2008 the Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science officially became the Centre for Veterinary Education to reflect its true nature and business within The University of Sydney. As a Centre it has continued to evolve and develop to suit the needs of the profession, with increasing participation of overseas veterinarians from Asia, Europe and North America in particular.
Dr Tom Hungerford (1968 – 1987)
OBE BVSc FACVSc HAD
The first director of the Post Graduate Committee and PGF was Dr TG Hungerford OBE BVSc FACVSc HAD Fellow of the University of Sydney. Tom Hungerford led the profession with great distinction for many years and he was responsible for expanding the practical application of veterinary science within the community, through his encouragement to veterinarians to embrace all aspects of animal health and production in keeping with their training.
Throughout his professional life Tom received many honours. The Queen made him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire; the University of Sydney conferred on him an Honorary Fellowship of the University and the profession continued to honour him in his retirement. In 1998 The Australian College of Veterinary Scientists honoured him with an oration delivered by Dr Douglas Bryden. All who knew Tom, and those who were so fortunate to work with him hold a warm affection for him. The CVE honours him regularly through the TG Hungerford Award for Excellence in Post Graduate Education, an award conferred on those who have made a notable contribution to continuing veterinary education.
Tom’s book Diseases of Livestock is now in the 9th edition. Amazon describes it thus:
For 45 years ‘Diseases of Livestock’ has been the world's foremost veterinary reference for both veterinarians and livestock farmers and breeders. Differential diagnostic charts are provided for each of the seven domestic animals – cats, cattle, dogs, goats, horses, pigs and sheep – giving specialist vets detailed diagnostic direction outside their speciality and enabling the lay person to attempt diagnosis in the event that veterinary advice is unavailable or to more fully understand the help that a vet may give.
Tom frequently enjoined vets to follow the ‘goanna track’ to success. Hence that term and the goanna motif, singularly Australian, often feature in CVE communications.
Tom died on 29 September 2007.
Dr Douglas Bryden (1987 – 2000)
In 1987, Tom Hungerford, was succeeded by Dr Douglas Bryden. Doug conducted a mixed practice in Tamworth, NSW for many years. He was a founding member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, the first Chairman of the Cattle Chapter, and President of the College in 1987/88, As Director, Doug instigated the Distance Education programs, with the first courses started in 1993. These intensive courses have now grown to be recognised as world-class education for veterinarians.
In 1994 Doug was awarded the Gilruth Prize, the highest honour of the AVA. He left the PGF in March 2000 to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Doug was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in recognition of his work in veterinary science, notably in the fields of continuing education and clinical practice.
Dr Bill Howey (2000 – 2002)
BVMS GradDipEd MACVSc MRCVS
In April 2000 Dr Bill Howey was appointed Director. His strong background in veterinary practice and education proved invaluable to the PGF. Bill, at the time of his appointment, was no stranger to the PGF. He had served as a Veterinary Consultant to the Foundation since 1996 and as Associate Director for the best part of 1999. As consultant he was involved in producing over 80 ‘TimeOut' seminars throughout Australia which were attended by over a thousand veterinary delegates. He was also closely involved in the planning and delivery of some major courses, specifically equine. Bill earned the respect and admiration of the PGF team and brought veterinarians the very best programs for their continuing education needs.
Bill's fine sense of equity, his openness and kindness have contributed as a lasting legacy continuing the tradition of supporting the members of the veterinary community with the best quality continuing education.
Bill retired for health reasons after two years, resigning in August 2002.
Dr Michele Cotton (2003 – 2007)
BVSc BScVet MVPHMgt
In May 2002 Dr Michele Cotton, formerly Associate Director for the PGF, was acting Director until December 2003, when she accepted the position of Director of the Post Graduate Foundation.
Michele’s extensive career in veterinary practice encompassed both large and small animal veterinary medicine and surgery, zoo animals, wildlife, teaching and research. Having been a solitary practitioner for much of her professional career and a grateful recipient of PGF support, she was well aware of its importance to veterinarians worldwide.
Under Michele’s leadership the innovative online course, TimeOnline, was developed in 2006. In October the same year NurseED, the continuing education program for veterinary nurses was launched. This was a series of specially designed annual workshops, and seventy vet nurses attended the first course ‘Intensive Care and Anaesthesia—A Nursing Perspective’.
Michele was a strong guardian of the directorship until she left in November 2007 to pursue other career options.
Dr Hugh White (2008 – present)
Dr Hugh White was appointed Director in March 2008 and brought fresh vision and energy to lead the way into a more vibrant time. Hugh had served on the PGF Advisory Council for a number of years, endeavouring to expand the services that were offered to members. As President he engaged with the University of Sydney to resolve issues that impacted on our future and facilitated the PGF realignment within the University as a Centre.
Hugh had over 35 years’ experience as a practising veterinarian, predominantly in mixed rural practices, with the focus varying from dairy to beef cattle, equine and small animals. He was a partner in the New England Vet Centres based in Armidale NSW and lived and worked in the New England area for 25 years. His interest in continuing education evolved while completing a Masters in equine reproduction, studying for his ANZCVS membership, and presenting lectures at PGF courses held under Tom Hungerford's directorship. He was on the AEVA (now EVA) executive for seven years and was actively involved in the growth and development of the Bain Fallon courses. He was involved in running management workshops for veterinarians with the Financial Management Research Centre and since 2007 has been a consultant to ValuVet.
Hugh’s insight into the workings of the CVE, combined with his veterinary experience and knowledge, has enabled him confidently to bring his own style to the directorship of The Centre for Veterinary Education.