SCOTT, Walter (1854-1925)


SCOTT, Walter (1854-1925)
classical scholar
son of G. I. Scott, was born in 1854. Educated at Christ's Hospital and Balliol College, Oxford, he graduated with first-class honours in classics and the Ireland, Craven and Derby scholarships. From 1879 he was a fellow of Merton College, and in 1884 was appointed professor of classics at the university of Sydney; his inaugural lecture, What is Classical Study, delivered on 23 March 1885, was published as a pamphlet. In the same year his Fragmenta Herculanensia, published at Oxford by the Clarendon Press, established his reputation as a scholar. At Sydney Scott took much interest in the university as a whole. He was one of the leaders in the movement for the establishment of the women's college, and as dean of the faculty of arts encouraged the teaching of modern literature, history and philosophy, and the inauguration of university extension lectures. His health was, however, not good and in 1890 at his own suggestion his chair was divided, and he became professor of Greek. He carried out the duties of this chair for about 10 years, but resigned in August 1900 on account of continued ill-health.
Scott returned to England and in 1905 became professor of classics at McGill university, Montreal. He, however, retired again in 1908 and spent the remainder of his life at Oxford. He contributed several papers to classical journals in England, Australia and Canada, and devoted his later years to the preparation of an edition of the text of Hermetica, The Ancient Greek and Latin Writings which contain Religious or Philosophic Teachings, ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, with an English translation and notes. When Scott died on 26 February 1925 the first volume had been published, and the second and third were in the press. The fourth volume, completed by Professor A. S. Ferguson, came out some years later.
Though essentially a scholar and something of a recluse, Scott's work at Sydney and Montreal was much appreciated. He was modest, unselfish, and always ready to help a good cause. His combination of profound and wide scholarship with idealism was a strong influence in university and teaching life. He did distinguished work as a classical scholar, but the amount of it was limited by his precarious health.
The Times, 27 February 1925; H. E. Barff, A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1891, 1901; H. J. C. The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 4 March 1925.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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