Sir Alexander Grant - Encyclopedia

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SIR ALEXANDER GRANT, 8th Bart. (1826-1884), British scholar and educationalist, was born in New York on the 13th of September 1826. After a childhood spent in the West Indies, he was educated at Harrow and Oxford. He entered Oxford as scholar of Balliol, and subsequently held a fellowship at Oriel from 1849 to 1860. He made a special study of the Aristotelian philosophy, and in 1857 published an edition of the Ethics (4th ed. 1885) which became a standard text-book at Oxford. In 1855 he was one of the examiners for the Indian Civil Service, and in 1856 a public examiner in classics at Oxford. In the latter year he succeeded to the baronetcy. In 1859 he went to Madras with Sir Charles Trevelyan, and was appointed inspector of schools; the next year he removed to Bombay, to fill the post of Professor of History and Political Economy in the Elphinstone College. Of this he became Principal in 1862; and, a year later, vice-chancellor of Bombay University, a post he held from 1863 to 1865 and again from 1865 to 1868. In 1865 he took upon himself also the duties of Director of Public Instruction for Bombay Presidency. In 1868 he was appointed a member of the Legislative Council. In the same year, upon the death of Sir David Brewster, he was appointed Principal of Edinburgh University, which had conferred an honorary LL.D. degree upon him in 1865. From that time till his death (which occurred in Edinburgh on the 30th of November 1884) his energies were entirely devoted to the well-being of the University. The institution of the medical school in the University was almost solely due to his initiative; and the Tercentenary Festival, celebrated in 1884, was the result of his wisely directed ethusiasm. In that year he published The Story of the University of Edinburgh during its First Three Hundred Years. He was created Hon. D.C.L. of Oxford in 1880, and an honorary fellow of Oriel College in 1882.

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