He who enters this noble land shalt walk out pure and enriched 14 years after

Rev. A. G. Fraser

Rev. A. G. Fraser (1904 – 1924)

It is to Rev. Fraser, if to any one man, that Trinity owes its present standing. Within a few years, with the dynamic energy which was characteristic of the man, he transformed a little school in Kandy into one of the leading Colleges in the Island. The beginnings had been laid by Rev. Napier-Clavering but it was under Rev. Fraser’s guidance that the face of Trinity underwent a complete transformation. Money for the purpose was collected by himself and his wife on periodic visits to England and by friends and well-wishes, chief among them being Mr. W. Watson to whom the School owes a deep debt of gratitude. Discipline improved considerably. The standard of teaching, and consequently the examination results of the School were as good, if not better, than those of any other school in the Island. All sports and out-of-door activities, too, took on a new lease of life. Above all, however, Rev. Fraser gave to Trinity a tone, an atmosphere, that is peculiarly its own. It was he who stressed and emphasized the need for a religious background to education; it was he who realised, more than most contemporaries did, the need to synthesise the heritage of the East with what was best in the West.

The son of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir Andrew Henderson Leith Fraser, Rev. A. G. Fraser was educated in Edinburgh from where he went to Trinity College, Oxford. Having graduated in History, he returned to Edinburgh University to take a course in Theology. He was the Principal from 1904 to 1924, during which time, however, he was away from Trinity a good deal.

Rev. Fraser had a powerful personality and he had a most wonderful gift of inspiring loyalty and service in all men with whom he came in contact. His power to draw men to himself was irresistible. He had, too, an uncanny flair for choosing the right man for the right job. Coupled with these gifts was his brilliant organising ability. Little wonder it is then that even today the name of Trinity is synonymous with that of Fraser.

The departure of Rev. Fraser in 1924 is an obvious milestone in the history of this school, the end of an epoch. So successfully had he completed his task here that he was now off to Africa to give to the Gold Coast what he had given to Ceylon. That he succeeded there at Achimota, even more than he had done here, is now a matter of history, for, when Ghana celebrated its independence, Rev. Fraser was one of those who were honoured as the real makers of the new nation. Ghanaians have in recent years visited Trinity almost, as it were, on pilgrimage to see for themselves the original source from which they believed Achimota had sprung. Thus it was, for example, that Mr. A. L. Ado, Deputy Commonwealth Secretary, confessed in an address to the school in March 1970, that although he was in Ceylon ostensibly on official business, his was a sentimental journey the real purpose of which was to visit Trinity.

Education during Rev. Fraser’s time was designed to produce a complete individual and this he sought to achieve in a variety of ways. By and large, the young men that Trinity produced at this time were alert in mind and body, well-disciplined in the best sense of that word, conscious of their obligations to the community, dedicated, if not to selfless service, at least to doing an honest job of work in whatever calling they found themselves.


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