Professor Richard (Dick) Clayton Bennett
24 September 1930 - 2 October 2018
Professor Richard (Dick) Clayton Bennett AM, FRACS had been a Fellow of this College since 1960 and a graduate of the University of Adelaide. As a surgeon in practice, he was based at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne from 1966 to 1990.
Professor Bennett was admitted to the Court of Honour in 1987 and was prominent in affairs of the College, serving as the College Honorary Treasurer from 1979-87. He became Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery and was awarded the Sir Hugh Devine Medal of the College for "meritorious service to surgery and the College" in 1986. He was subsequently appointed by the University of Melbourne as the Hugh Devine Professor of Surgery.
Professor Bennett served three times as the Convener of the Scientific Program and General Scientific Meetings of the College and in 1981 conceived the Younger Fellows Forum.
Professor Bennett was personally and professionally committed to philanthropy to forge greater access to quality surgical care. As a Councillor, Professor Bennett promoted research in surgery and persuaded Council to set up the Foundation for Surgery in 1980. He personally made significant contributions to surgery in Malaysia, the Pacific, and Papua New Guinea. His 30 years of international contributions to quality surgical care were recognised through the RACS International Medal, which was awarded to him in 2010. Professor Bennett continued to serve the Foundation for Surgery as its Patron and advocated for Fellows to leave their surgical legacy through bequests.
His hard work, determination and compassion to establish the Surgeons International Award, the Younger Fellows Forum and the Foundation for Surgery will ensure his influence will continue for many generations to come.
Professor Richard (Dick) Clayton Bennett is remembered as a great leader, surgeon, teacher and researcher and made significant contributions to this College.
Surgery as a profession and the Australian and New Zealand communities owe an enormous amount to this forward thinking, generous and courageous man. Professor Bennett was a truly great role model in the surgical profession and in the wider community.