Rev Alexander Duff, D.D. LLD. (15 April 1806 – 12 February 1878), schooled in Kirkmichael, was a Christian missionary in India; where he played a large part in the development of higher education.

He was the first overseas missionary of the Church of Scotland to India. On 13 July 1830 he founded the General Assembly’s Institution in Calcutta, now known as the Scottish Church College.

Alexander Duff was incredibly influential in Indian education and government and set several precedents. Duff’s methods were widely imitated and his cumulative twenty-five years in the subcontinent were largely characterized by the establishment of western-style educational institutions. Duff can be credited with creating a framework that influenced educational policy and practice during the nineteenth century and beyond. Since his schools catered mostly to the Hindu middle class, he was able to receive attention from the government which helped to spread his methods and ideas. Several other English schools were established because the General Assemblies Institution was so successful. The success and influence of Duff’s college led to the founding of the Calcutta Medical College. Hindu scriptures forbid people of higher castes from touching dead bodies, which prevented medical students from performing cadaver dissections. Students from Duff’s college expressed that their liberal, English education had “freed their minds from prejudice and the dissection of the human body was not objectionable to them.”[9] This new idea allowed higher caste Indians to pursue medical professions, therefore advancing healthcare in India.

Alexander Duff was incredibly influential in Indian education and government and set several precedents. Duff’s methods were widely imitated and his cumulative twenty-five years in the subcontinent were largely characterized by the establishment of western-style educational institutions. Duff can be credited with creating a framework that influenced educational policy and practice during the nineteenth century and beyond. Since his schools catered mostly to the Hindu middle class, he was able to receive attention from the government which helped to spread his methods and ideas. Several other English schools were established because the General Assemblies Institution was so successful. The success and influence of Duff’s college led to the founding of the Calcutta Medical College. Hindu scriptures forbid people of higher castes from touching dead bodies, which prevented medical students from performing cadaver dissections. Students from Duff’s college expressed that their liberal, English education had “freed their minds from prejudice and the dissection of the human body was not objectionable to them.”[9] This new idea allowed higher caste Indians to pursue medical professions, therefore advancing healthcare in India.

There is a church in Kirkmichael named after him called the Alexander Duff Memorial Church. now sadly falling into ruin.