SON of the late Robert Wright, J.P., farmer at Downan, Ballantrae, Mr. R. Patrick Wright was born in 1857. He was educated at the Parish School and Ayr Academy, and afterwards at Edinburgh University, where he was a bursar and prize winner in the sessions 1880-82. In 1882 he took first place in the class of Agriculture, and also gained the diploma in Agriculture of the Highland and Agricultural Society. Subsequently he travelled and studied in England, Germany, and other parts of the Continent. He was also engaged for some years in practical farming in South Ayrshire. Along with his business there he took an interest in local church and temperance work, and gained first prize for an essay on the life of Dr. Chalmers under the Free Church Welfare of Youth Scheme.
In 1887 Mr. Wright was appointed Lecturer in Agriculture in connection with the Young chair of Technical Chemistry in Glasgow. In the following year this became a lectureship in the newly constituted Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, and in 1891, on the lectureship being changed into a Chair, the appointment became a professorship. Professor Wright was afterwards made Director of the Agricultural Department of the College. Finally, on the formation of the West of Scotland Agricultural College in 1899, he was appointed Professor of Agriculture, and subsequently Principal of the College.
During the past ten years Professor Wright has conducted an extensive series of experiments on farm crops, which have resulted in the discovery of a large number of important facts bearing on economical and profitable cultivation. These investigations and their results have been fully described by him in numerous bulletins published by the college, and included in its annual reports on experiments. He is also the author of numerous articles on agricultural subjects published in the Transactions of the Highland Society, the Journal of the Board of Agriculture, the Scottish Farmer's Year-Book, and other journals. Among the more important of these are articles on "Catch Cropping in Scotland," "Weeds and their Eradication" (jointly with Professor McAlpine), "Manuring of Potatoes," "Selection of Seed," etc. With the late Dr. Aikman he was joint translator of Fleischmann's "Book of the Dairy," and is the author of a revision of Blackie's "Agriculture." He is editor also of the monumental "Encyclopaedia of Modern Agriculture and Rural Economy." His chief work, however, has been that of organising the Agricultural College and its experiment station at Holmes Farm, and the agricultural education of the south-west of Scotland. He has been the originator and pioneer of methods of agricultural education since adopted in the recently constituted Agricultural Colleges of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and also largely adopted within recent years in Ireland.
Among other interests Principal Wright has twice made a tour of inspection of the leading Labour Colonies of Germany, and he was one of the founders of the Scottish Labour Colony at Midlocharwoods, of which he is a Director. He is also a Director of the Scottish Temperance League. Some years ago he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)