Monday 08 March 2021

Vale Roderick D Fraser AM

It is with much sadness that we convey the news of the passing of Ivanhoe Grammar School’s fourth Principal, Mr Rod Fraser AM.

Rod was a child who was raised in an educational environment, therefore, it was no surprise that he ultimately became an educator. His father was a Master at Geelong Grammar School and Rod graduated from there as a member of the Class of (’67). He studied Commerce at the University of Melbourne, completed his Dip.Ed. and embarked on a career in education that was to influence thousands of lives.

Rod commenced his role as Ivanhoe’s fourth leader in 1996. He had previously held senior roles as Deputy Principal at Launceston Grammar and as Principal of Scots School, Bathurst NSW, prior to returning to Victoria. Ivanhoe had not long been a multi-campus school and co-education at Plenty Campus had just reached Year 12. His arrival coincided with the emergence of computers in schools, a more global outlook, and increasingly strong connections to Asia.

Early on, Rod put in place several strategies to strengthen his one school philosophy. Whole school events were introduced including services at the cathedral and gala presentation evenings. Cross campus professional development events were scheduled bringing together staff and resulting in a shared curriculum across the School. Overseas trips, seminars, cadets, sport and performing arts became increasingly one school in approach and practice.

Our membership of Round Square began in 1997 representing a significant turning point in the history of the School. By the time it was Ivanhoe’s turn to host the international Round Square conference in 2005 its pillars of internationalism, democracy, environment, adventure, leadership and service had become embedded in every aspect of student life. Internationalism has become a fundamental pillar for the School, manifested through Round Square activities, Cambodia service projects, the International Baccalaureate, the enrolment of overseas students and the Year 9 international trips program. Rod was passionate about making Ivanhoe Grammar School a more international, outward looking school.

Significant changes to the uniform were also made during Rod’s tenure and a notebook computer program provided impetus for change across the curriculum. However, the most noteworthy change under Rod’s leadership was the School’s successful transition to coeducation, a legacy that has endured and developed. In addition, vertical pastoral care structures were re-introduced at The Ridgeway Campus underlining Rod’s desire to create a friendlier environment for every child and where cross age mentoring might occur as a natural part of school life.

During his leadership, considerable building and refurbishment projects were undertaken on both campuses. At The Ridgeway Campus, many of the older buildings were renewed to world-class standard including the Middle Years Centre, The Ridge Cafeteria, the TR Lee Science Building and Arts Edge at Locksley. At Plenty Campus, the Sinclaire Enterprise Centre and The Round were innovative buildings far ahead of their time.

Rod Fraser has cemented Ivanhoe Grammar School firmly into various international networks of schools and organisations creating extraordinary opportunities for our students. More than ever, Ivanhoe students are living and working internationally and playing their part in a world vastly different to 1915 when St James’ Grammar School first opened its doors.

In June 2015, Rod was acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list becoming a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for significant service to secondary education, to national and international learning development organisations, and to the community. He was our first Principal to achieve such an honour.

Rod leaves behind wife Sandy who was much loved as a member of our School Family, with her warm smile, gracious manner and engaging nature. Our thoughts are with her and children, Lucy, Tom and Alice, and their families, at this very sad time.

Fidelis Usque Ad Mortem