Biography of Lady Marion Anne Fraser
Marion Anne Forbes, 1953
Lady Marion Anne Fraser (1932-2016) was a graduate of the University of Glasgow who was President of the Queen Margaret Union in session 1953-4.
Born Marion Anne Forbes she was educated at the Hutcheson’s Girls’ Grammar School before attending the University of Glasgow in 1950 to study for an MA. Active in student politics, she was elected President of the Queen Margaret Union in 1953 standing on the ticket “Keep the Men’s Union Board out of our Hair”. In 1956, she married William Kerr Fraser, a former President of the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council and later Principal and Chancellor of the University of Glasgow.
During the period her husband served as Vice Chancellor and Principal (1988-1995) she worked with tireless energy to foster a sense of community and family across the campus, a commitment she continued to fulfil during Sir William’s subsequent time as Chancellor of the University. The University acknowledged her wide contribution to public life in conferring the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1995 and following the extensive refurbishment and extension of the Hub/Refectory over 2007-09, it was renamed the Fraser Building in honour of Lady Marion and Sir William. As a student focused venue it was a fitting tribute to their abiding interest in and enthusiasm for the quality of student life.
Lady Fraser’s wider interests were diverse, her achievements great and her work tireless. She was Director for St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh between 1989 and 1995, Founding Chair of the Friends of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1986 to 1989, a Governor of the Laurel Bank School for Girls from 1988 to 1995, and a Director of Scottish Opera from 1990 to 1994. She was Chairman of the Board of Christian Aid from 1990–1997, and of both the Scottish International Piano Competition and the Scottish Association for Mental Health from 1995 to 1999. She served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1994 to 1995.
She was created a Lady Companion of the Thistle in 1996, the first non-royal Lady to be awarded this title, and was made an Honorary Member of the Company of Merchants in the City of Edinburgh in 1998. Lady Marion was awarded an honorary LLD degree by the University of Glasgow in 1995. The oration shows the deep affection in which she was held by her alma mater. It reads “Mr Chancellor, I have very great pleasure in inviting you to confer the degree of Doctor of Laws upon a woman who represents the very highest traditions of the women graduates of this university, whom we are proud of and we love, Lady Fraser.” She died on Christmas Day 2016.
Lady Marion Anne Fraser
Born 17 October 1932.
Died 25 December 2016.
University Link: Alumnus, Honorary Graduate
GU Degrees: MA, 1954; Arts, LLD, 1995;
Record last updated: 8th Feb 2017