Inaugural Lecture: Professor Gavin Cecil Gilbert Fraser

03 October 2012

Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Deans, Heads of Department, colleagues, students, family and friends of Professor Fraser, ladies and gentlemen - molweni, good evening, welcome.

The University Calendar lists all the current full professors of Rhodes University. One of the more recent entries recorded is of that of Professor Gavin Cecil Gilbert Fraser of the Department of Economics and Economic Studies.

This evening, as is our tradition, we have the presentation of the Inaugural Lecture that follows the University conferring the status of full professor on an academic.

It is an evening on which as academic peers, colleagues, students, family, friends, and the public we celebrate the intellectual and scholarly achievements of one of our professors.

Gavin spent his school years at Marist Brothers College in Port Elizabeth before answering an initial call to teach. He trained as a Primary School Teacher obtaining his Teachers’ Diploma in Mathematics and Physical Education from the Graaff-Reinet Teachers’ College.

A Rhodes University Bachelor of Commerce, with majors in Economics and Economics of Agriculture, Honours and Masters Degrees followed shortly thereafter.

After Rhodes, Gavin moved to the Western Cape and registered at the University of Stellenbosch to undertake his Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics studies.

Gavin’s academic career began at Fort Hare University where he was a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics from 1980 to 1983. During this time he also took courses in Applied Computer Science at Fort Hare. He was promoted to a Senior Lecturer during the second half of 1983 while also completing an Advanced Course in Data Survey Analysis at a Human Sciences Research Council Winter School.

In 2000 came a well-earned promotion to the status of Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development. A further promotion to a full Professorship followed in 2004.

During his time at Fort Hare, Gavin became a valued member of both his Department and the Science Faculty. He was placed in charge of the academic programme during the absence of the Head of Department and also assisted with the revision of the Agricultural Economics courses and the formulation of the new Bachelor of Agriculture curriculum.

He also acted as Head of Department for several periods before being appointed Head of Department in 1998, while also spending a spell as Vice Dean in the Faculty of Agriculture.

Between 2001 and 2006 he served as the Land Bank Chair in Agricultural Economics, and as a member of various Fort Hare University committees which included the Farm, Faculty Bursaries and Research, as well as the Curriculum Committee.

In July 2008 he returned to Rhodes, his alma mater, as the Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Economic History. In 2009 had the distinction of delivering the honorary F.R. Tomlinson Commemorative Lecture, and taking on the responsibility of acting Head of Department for the first three months of this year.

During the course of his teaching career Gavin has lectured at all levels and since moving to Rhodes has taught microeconomics to first years, and environmental economics to third years and the Honours class. He is also the coordinator of the third-year programme and co-coordinator of the Honours project programme. He has lectured Economics to the MBA students for the Division of External Studies of the University of Fort Hare at the Bisho Campus and in 2008 he served on the review panel for the Department of Agriculture at the University of Zululand.

Gavin also serves on the Rhodes University Sports Council.

Gavin has supervised seven Doctoral theses and is currently supervising two more, as well as 17 Masters dissertations with a further five in progress. He has also been an external examiner at several South African universities as well as at the universities of Botswana and Lesotho.

In his personal research he has participated in projects funded by the European Union, USAID, and the Flemish Government. With his specialisation in agricultural and environmental economics, he is frequently involved with enquiries into the economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural practices in the country and on the continent and has authored seven research reports and six consulting reports on this subject.

He has edited one book, has eight book chapters to his name, and 33 publications in accredited and peer-reviewed journals, with a further three publications in progress and two working papers. He has attended 13 international and several national conferences and has presented some 25 papers and seminars while also co-authoring some 11 student papers and poster papers.

Given the particular focus of his research, Gavin has been professionally involved in several bodies, including the International Association of Agricultural Economics. He has been a member of the management committee, vice-president and more recently an honorary member of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa and was formerly a chairman of the Eastern Cape Branch and a council member of the Economic Society of South Africa.

But Gavin is not only partial to the academics of Economics, he has always been an active and competitive sportsman in various sporting codes. He was a member of the Eastern Cape Showjumping Team in the 1970s, and was named the Eastern Cape Showjumping Champion in 1973.

He is also an avid cricketer and competed in the Eastern Province as well as the South African Country Districts league for several years. He played for the Rhodes 1st XV Rugby and was awarded Rhodes University Cricket Colours. He played for the South African Universities “B” Cricket as well as Eastern Province and Border Cricket and in 1983 became East London Cricket Union’s Sportsman of the Year. More recently he has been President of the Fort Beaufort Cricket Club.

Nowadays in his spare time he can still be found stretching his muscles in the sporting arena. Of late he has turned his hand to the game of squash and has played Border Country Districts Festival Squash as well as Eastern Province Masters Squash.

It is my great pleasure to invite Professor Gavin Fraser to address us. His lecture this evening is titled Institutional Economics and the Environment.


Last Modified: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:01:32 SAST