Published: 15 Jul 2019 | Last Updated: 10 Aug 2023 15:34:17

Dr Liz Bonnin with Professor Stuart Reid, Principal of the Royal Veterinary College

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has awarded honorary degrees to three outstanding individuals; TV presenter and alumnus Liz Bonnin, Professor Alan McNeilly and Bruce Vivash Jones. The three were commended by the RVC for their contributions to science, the veterinary profession, as well as wider society.

The RVC’s 2019 Graduation Ceremony, which took place at the Royal Festival Hall in London, was officially opened by the RVC’s Council Chairman, Lord Curry of Kirkharle. Lord Curry, who recently announced he was stepping down from the position this summer. During the ceremony Liz Bonnin, Bruce Vivash Jones and Professor McNeilly were presented with their honorary degrees by the RVC’s Principal, Professor Stuart Reid CBE. 

Liz Bonnin is a biochemist, wild animal biologist and broadcaster.  Having graduated with distinction in her master's degree in Wild Animal Biology from the RVC and won the prize as first in her class , Liz moved into promoting science on national TV. She was recruited by the BBC to present their popular science show, Bang Goes the Theory, which aired for eight series. Liz then transferred her presenting skills to a range of popular national history and science programmes, including the Blue Planet Live, Museum of Life, Drowning in Plastic, Super Smart Animals and Galapagos.

Dr Bruce Vivash Jones with Professor Stuart Reid

Bruce Vivash Jones is a leading consultant and veterinary historian. After qualifying from the RVC, he held various appointments within the industry before establishing Vivash-Jones Consultants, an advisory firm on animal health issues, with clients across the world.

Over his long career, Bruce has held various positions, including President of the Central Veterinary Society; Chairman of the BVA’s Veterinary Policy Group; and Chairman of the Veterinary History Society, in which he still serves as Vice-Chairman.

Also, a founding member of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), Bruce has overseen a number of veterinary publications. He has also dedicated time to chronicling the history of the profession and has published three books. Bruce has been recognised with the Blaine Award, as well as with a Lifetime Contribution Award from the RCVS.   

Professor Alan Swain McNeilly

Professor McNeilly is an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health. His research, which explores how the pituitary gland regulate ovarian function, has made significant contributions to the knowledge in this field. His work has also contributed to World Health Organisation’s and Family Health International’s guidelines on the health of infants. Professor McNeilly began his career in the veterinary sector, working at the National Institute for Research in Dairying after graduating from the University of Nottingham with Bachelor of Science in Animal Science.  

Professor Stuart Reid, Principal of the RVC, said: “We are delighted to recognise these three enormously talented individuals for their contributions to our sector as well as broader society. That we count them as friends, and for the RVC to be associated with them, is an honour and the example they set our graduating class and other students is of the highest order. From such varied backgrounds and with complementary skills, they are perfect role models.”

Notes to Editors

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London.
  • The RVC is ranked as the world’s number one veterinary school in the QS World University Rankings 2019.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • The RVC was the first veterinary school in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC, and currently holds full accreditation from RCVS, AVBC and AVMA and conditional from EAEVE.
  • In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive.
  • A research-led institution, the RVC maintained its position as the top veterinary institution in the Research Excellence Framework (2014), with 79% of its submission being rated as world-class or internationally excellent.
  • The RVC also provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals: the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital, in central London, and the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals (Europe's largest small animal referral centre) and Equine Referral Hospital, both located at the Hertfordshire campus.

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