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Gratitude inspired Arts & Science alumnus David B. Fraser to mentor students and colleagues

Kind, genuine and incredibly modest, Arts & Science alumnus David B. Fraser was more interested in lifting up the next generation of scientists and researchers than focusing on his many accomplishments, including securing more than 75 U.S. patents.

August 19, 2021 by: Peter Boisseau - A&S News

The outpouring of affection from friends and colleagues after his passing reflected a universal admiration for Fraser’s selfless mentorship of young colleagues and students while working as a cutting-edge research physicist at Bell Labs and Intel.

“I remember at his retirement dinner when he left Intel, every one of the scientists in his research group got up and talked about him in an almost fatherly way,” says Fraser’s daughter Sharon Holt.

“He really took them under his wing and coached them, not only about their work and their careers but also little life lessons.”

Fraser also established a strong intern program at Intel to attract grad students.

“He was very committed to making sure young students had opportunities to experience industrial research because that was such a big thing for him,” says Holt.

Gratitude for the opportunities and education he got was a driving force for the father of six with a strong love of family, who graduated from U of T with a master of arts in 1955 and a PhD in physics in 1958.

After growing up in 1930s Winnipeg and becoming the first in his family to graduate from university, her father felt a responsibility to help others, says Holt.

Fraser donated to U of T for more than 30 years and was in the process of setting up a bequest for the David and Louise Fraser Scholarship in the Department of Physics when he passed away on December 2, 2020.

"The Department of Physics is honoured to receive this generous bequest from our alumnus Dr. David Fraser,” says Chair Kim Strong.

“Dr. Fraser has been a steadfast supporter of the department through a series of donations over the past 30 years. We are deeply grateful for his long record of commitment and for this wonderful gift, which will enable us to provide new scholarships for our undergraduate students."

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