Dr. Alex Livingston, 1940-2014. Photo: Debra Marshall.

A vet's life: Dr. Alex Livingston

Dr. Alexander (Alex) Livingston, former dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), died on June 7, 2014 — 10 days shy of his 74th birthday.

Livingston served as the veterinary college's fourth dean for 10 years. After finishing his second five-year term in 2002, he returned to the WCVM's Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and continued to conduct research and mentor clinical residents and graduate students.

Livingston officially retired from the college in 2007.

In his obituary, his family described Livingston as someone who ". . . made a difference in the scientific community, the Veterinary College, the University and beyond, but more than anything he will be remembered for his compassion, humility, kindness, thoughtfulness and sense of humour.

"While the serious side prevailed in making sure data collection was done well, there were always lessons to be learned and laughs to be shared."

A 1962 graduate of London University, Livingston went on to receive his veterinary medical degree and MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)  in 1964 and his PhD from the University of Bristol in 1968. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) in 1993 and a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1999.

Livingston was recognized for his leadership and research advances in the areas of animal pain, animal welfare and pharmacology of analgesics. He was awarded the Merial Grand Prize Outstanding Research Program in Animal Pain in 2001, and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Association for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology (EAVPT) in 2006.

Livingston was active in the scientific community as board member on the Canadian Council for Animal Care and editor in chief for research in Veterinary Science, to name a few. During his career, he supervised 15 PhD students and contributed to the scientific community with over 100 publications in internationally-recognized, peer-reviewed journals, over 70 conference proceedings and abstracts, and over 20 book chapters.

As described by his family, "Alex was famous for his stories about the memorable moments in his life, being on the farm (the escapades of cows, Thelma and Louise, and the ire of his neighbors), his dogs (egg collecting and other stories) and family, research and veterinary practice (what not to do).

"It was always enjoyable to be in a room with Alex, and he will be greatly missed."

Click here to read "At Term's End," the Q & A feature article with Dr. Alex Livingston that was published in Spring 2002 issue of The Ark.
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