About the Rector
Neil Russell Crawford
Neil Crawford attended Fish Hoek High School in Cape Town, and was awarded the Ubique Cup for Service as Head Prefect. Service is one of the principles that have moulded his character, the others being Walking, Talking and Leadership. After studying at the Graaff-Reinet and Paarl Teachers’ Colleges, he studied at Stellenbosch and Rhodes Universities, reading for a BA (HMS) before obtaining a teaching diploma. His first teaching post was at Wynberg Boys’ High, after which he was appointed as Vice-Principal at Queen’s College in 1984. Here he rose to the position of Senior Deputy Headmaster before he was appointed headmaster of Muir College in 1997. He started his tenure as the 7th Rector of Grey High School in July 2001.
A keen sportsman, he coached the Queen’s 1st XV for 5 years, and was a selector and coach for Border Schools’. He took to running and has run numerous marathons and achieved 7 silver medals in the Two Oceans Marathons. These days he can be seen walking around the school most mornings, long before most boarders are awake.
He is an active member of the Algoa Rotary Club, and is renowned for his sharp wit. A charismatic and engaging speaker – whether at an informal gathering, at a black-tie event, or merely addressing students in assembly, he can inspire crowds with his words.
His enthusiastic support of the Grey men sees him traverse the sportsfields in the afternoon, often after clocking up a number of kilometres walking the school’s corridors during the day getting the pulse of the school, before returning to his office to catch up on his daily administration.
There is a story told of Miss Gwladys Robb’s interview with Rector Lang in 1935. On her enquiring about the hours of work, Lang is supposed to have replied, “Of course, you can just come here every day during school hours, or if you like, you can become part of the place.” Neil Crawford is following this long tradition.
The Rector believes in and continuously ‘preaches’ the ‘Pride and Passion’ that is characteristic of a Grey Man. He is intensely loyal and once he has identified a cause worth supporting, he supports it to the hilt. He has spoken of the “energy that resides within the Grey and whose glow extends across the school”, a fine expression of the intangible something to which teachers, boys, parents and Old Greys’ all contribute.
[Extracts from ‘The Spirit of The Tower’ by John Young]