The 50th Anniversary Reunion of the OP Class of 1968 took place from 9 to 11 November 2018 at the Faculty of Veterinary Science. The event was organised by a committee comprising Drs Maryke Henton, Faffa Malan and David Moore. The celebration commenced with the registration of all delegates at the Old Faculty Building of the Onderstepoort Campus at 12:00 on Friday, 9 November. This was followed by lectures in the Old Auditorium where 50 years previously, the final year class of 1968 received their results from Prof CFB Hofmeyr and provided our destiny for the following 50 years.
The lectures were preceded by a welcoming speech from David Moore to the participants who included classmates, mentors, spouses and lecturers. Three lectures were presented as follows: Mr Gert Steyn, the MD of the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) gave a lecture entitled “SAVA-Why we are still relevant”; Prof. Dietmar Holm, Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning at the Faculty of Veterinary Science reflected on “The Current State of Veterinary Education at UP”, and Emeritus Prof Gareth Bath’s concluded with “Pristinae Virtutis Memores”. Photographs of the entire group as well as of the classmates were then taken outside the Old Faculty Building.
The Class of 1968: Front Row: Shan Ellis (nee Thomas), Jay Malerbe, Maryke Henton (nee Kaales), Faffa Malan, Denise Lloyd (nee Schott), Marten Bootsma. Middle Row: Alan Deane, David Moore, Podge Rogers, Rob Taylor. Back Row: Dick Whittington-Jones, Roger Turner, Pete Shires, Merron Galliers, Hercu Van Niekerk, Phil Loftus, PP Brandt, Ian Schlesinger.
The lectures were followed by a buffet luncheon in the cafeteria of the Faculty’s Lesedi Complex, which was sponsored by the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the South African Veterinary Association. Following the luncheon, delegates were provided with an opportunity to view the new Skills Laboratory as well as the OP Veterinary Academic Hospital under the guidance of Ms Rene Abernethy, responsible for fundraising and corporate relations at the Faculty.
The participating delegates then journeyed to the Kloofzicht Lodge and Spa in Muldersdrift for a Welcome Wine Tasting and Chocolate Pairing which was followed by a Boma braai and dinner in the adjoining lapa. The relaxed camaraderie and renewed friendship was palpable and established the spirit of goodwill that prevailed for the entire weekend. On Saturday, 10 November the participants gathered for a relaxed breakfast and luncheon while enjoying free time to reminisce and regale each other about times gone by. The Farewell Dinner on Saturday evening was preceded by an AV presented by Pete Shires entitled “50 years after the Crucible” and which encapsulated each class members' 50 year journey. The AV provided an insight into the varied lives and activities of each participant during the past half century and was sensitive, hilarious and evocative.
The enormously successful gathering was concluded after breakfast on Sunday, 11 November when we bade farewell to each other and with the expectation of a future reunion. We wish to thank our numerous sponsors which included Ascendis Animal Health, Cube Route, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Hills Pet Nutrition, Idexx Laboratories, Killarney Pharmacy, Lakato, Legacy Pet Crematorium, MSD, SAVA, Ultradog, VetsBrands, V-Tech and Zoetis.
A special thanks to our colleague, Spats Cullen in the United Kingdom for his generous donation and support for the reunion. A donation of R10 000 has been made to the Community Veterinary Clinics (CVC) on behalf of the OP Class of 1968 with funds accumulated from the weekend festivities.