Students will be students – that hasn’t changed a lot according to Curtin University’s first Guild President Tom Silvan.
Back in 1969 pharmacy student Tom Silvan was tasked with bringing together the student population and establishing not only a constitution for the Student Guild but perhaps more importantly a sense of unity at the newly formed WA Institute of Technology.
A bit older than many of his contemporaries, Tom was at WAIT as a mature aged student although he says “I don’t know if 21 or 22 is mature” having spent time at university in Sydney before moving to WA.
Tom along with many other former Guild Presidents recently celebrated Curtin’s 50th anniversary at a reunion held at the favourite watering hole of generations of Curtin students, the Tavern.
“Curtin is far more sophisticated these days,” said Tom. “It has grown from 1,000 to more than 30,000 students at Bentley and the digital age has brought about big differences in the way we communicate.”
As Guild President, Tom wanted the student organisation to be respected and recognised by the University Council and all students. “We managed all that,” he said.
Tom thinks that student organisations are great for developing industry and political leaders because they provide a grounding in business negotiation.
After graduating, Tom bought two pharmacies and established a pharmaceutical wholesaling business.
Retaining close links to Curtin, Tom served as the inaugural President of the Alumni Association from 1972 to 1975, represented the alumni on the Curtin Council from 1975 to 1982 and was a member of the Pharmacy School Advisory Board for many years. Now Tom is a member of the WAIT/Curtin Ambassadorial Committee raising funds for student scholarships.
Current Guild President Liam O’Neill paid tribute to Tom and other former Presidents at the reunion saying: “Your work led us to this place. We’ve succeeded because of your leadership, the battles you fought and the path you laid.”
Curtin Student Guild President
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1969 Guild President
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Above: Tom Silvan when Guild President
Below: Current Curtin Student Guild President Liam O’Neill with Curtin Vice Chancellor Deborah Terry and Curtin’s first Guild President Tom Silvan