Welcome to the website of Selwyn College Medical and Veterinary Society!

We are a society for Medical and Veterinary Medical Students at Selwyn College, Cambridge from first year all the way to sixth year and beyond. We like to think of our society as more of a close knit community, through which we host academic talks from esteemed experts in their field, hold biannual society formal dinners and organise other exciting events such as garden parties. We are also on hand to give welfare support as well as useful work resources and advice from the committee.

We’ve designed this website to provide academic resources and useful information for the current Medical and Veterinary students of Selwyn College and to share our news and  information about future MedVetSoc events.

History of the SCMVS, as told by Dr Robert Whitaker

“In 1958 two medical students, myself, Robert Whitaker, and my colleague Larry Baker decided that Selwyn needed a society for medical students. An inaugural meeting was arranged and Professor H A Harris, a retired Professor of Anatomy, was asked to address the group. We had met him in the Hat and Feathers on the Barton Road and considered him to be affable and distinguished enough to start the ball rolling. He turned out to be rather aggressive but the evening transpired to be a success albeit  somewhat challenging. Regular meetings followed in the next two years and we even devised a society tie  – Selwyn colours with an embossed homunculus. I have long since lost mine and indeed few were bought or worn!

In those days we all transferred to London medical schools for our clinical years and it was many years later, 1973 to be precise, when I returned to Cambridge as a consultant surgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Larry Baker meanwhile was appointed a consultant physician at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. In 1976 a clinical medical school was established in Cambridge, based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and many of us clinicians were elected as Associate Lecturers within the University. We were a rich source of supervisors in physiology and anatomy and most of us were rewarded with a Fellowship at various colleges.

I was installed as a Fellow at Selwyn in 1986, just four years before Edward Ford retired in 1990. Fortuitously, this coincided with my own retirement from Addenbrooke’s and I replaced Edward as an anatomy supervisor and remain as such 27 years later. On returning to Selwyn in 1986 I was delighted to see that the “Med Soc” was not just surviving but flourishing.  The first veterinary student at Selwyn was Richard Medd in 1954 and he was followed by Bernard Morton in 1957. It was only some years later that the numbers of vets increased to today’s levels. They now take a very active part in the society and latterly there has been a Vet Co-President.

As Senior Treasurer I have watched a series of student committees expertly run the society over the years. We now hold at least one meeting per term and often more with invited speakers who have ranged from  both medical and veterinary clinicians,  researchers, administrators and senior students who have so skilfully provided their junior colleagues with clinical scenarios for diagnosis and discussion. As often as not, the speakers have been taken to dine that evening at High Table.

The students organise a dinner in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms, to the first of which guests from other colleges are invited and in the Lent term an annual photograph is taken. Clinical students are very welcome as they give the more junior students an insight into clinical practice – a welcome addition to help make their long-term aims more realistic. Finally the year ends with a garden party to celebrate the end of Tripos and a year of hard studying. Latterly this event has been a joint occasion with the Medics and Vets of Newnham College.”

Dr Robert Whitaker, Founder & Senior Treasurer