Henry Dyer Scotland Japan

Biography of Henry Dyer

Henry Dyer, Graduation Album BSc 1873
Henry Dyer, Graduation Album BSc 1873

Henry Dyer graduated BSc from the University in 1873, and became an influential engineer and educationalist who played an important role in revolutionising the Japanese higher education curriculum.

Dyer graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1873, and on the recommendation of his former professor, Macquorn Rankine, took up the appointment of Principal of, and Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo, a new institution created to educate generations of engineers who would contribute to the modernisation of Japan. Alongside Yamao Yōzō, Japanese Minister of Public Works in the first Meiji era government, Dyer created a new and innovative curriculum aimed at both theoretical and hands on training. Upon graduation, many of the Japanese students were awarded Japanese Government funding to undertake further study abroad, many of them attending the University of Glasgow and gaining work experience in the industries of Scotland.

The Japanese government appointed Dyer to the Order of the Rising Sun (third class) for his contribution to engineering education and as Director of Engineering works within Japan. On his resignation from the University of Tokyo in 1882, Dyer was also made Honorary Principal of the Imperial College of Engineering in recognition of his upwards of nine years service as Principal of, and Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.

On his return to Glasgow, Dyer remained a proponent of and friend to the many Japanese students who would continue to train at the University of Glasgow, and in 1901, at Dyer's request, the University Court decreed that Japanese was to be an entry subject in the preliminary examination for aspiring students.

Dyer went on to graduate DSc in 1890, and University conferred him with an LLD in 1910 for his services to education.


Printed Materials

  • O. Checkland, Britain's encounter with Meiji Japan, 1868–1912 (1989) ·

Archival Materials

  • GUAS Court Papers 21 Sept 1886
  • R1/7/1 Graduation Albums BSc 1873-1942


Henry Dyer
Born 16 August 1848.
Died 25 September 1918.
GU Degrees: MA, 1873; BSc, 1873; DSc, 1890; LLD, 1910;
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate, Honorary Graduate
Occupation categories: enginers
Search for this person in the DNB
English snippet: Influential engineer and educationalist in Japan
Record last updated: 26th Jun 2013

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, Bothwell
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow
Place of Death

Japan Japan, Tokyo

University Connections

University Roles