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Alexander Kerr

1885-1970. First principal of Fort Hare, South Africa. Born near Kilmarnock, Scotland, he took charge in 1915 of Fort Hare, the first institution of higher learning for Africans in Bantu-speaking Africa; it resulted from cooperation between the churches, the state, and the African people. Initially it pioneered African secondary education, but was soon preparing students from South, Central, and East Africa for degrees of the University of South Africa. There were 720 graduates between 1923 and Kerr's retirement in 1948. He served on various official commissions, including those which recommended the establishment of Makerere College, Uganda, and the University of Rhodesia. Although a layman, he was moderator of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa in 1942. He opposed the transfer of Fort Hare to government control in 1960.