Emeritus Professor Adrian Mayer was awarded an Honorary Fellowship at SOAS after almost 30 years at the School. He joined SOAS in 1956, and was the first Chair of the South Asia Centre where he held the Chair of Asian Anthropology, later holding roles as Head of Department and finally Pro-Director before retiring in 1985.
Professor Mayer first went to India during the Second World War as a member of the Friends' Ambulance Unit, working in Bengal and Madras for two years. He subsequently trained as a social anthropologist at the London School of Economics, gaining his PhD in 1953 with a thesis on the Indian community in Fiji. Professor Mayer then took a research fellowship at The Australian National University, following which he joined SOAS.
Professor Mayer received the Rivers Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute, served as the Institute's President from 1983 to 1985 and earlier edited Man, the Institute's journal. He was a member of the Social Science Research Council from 1973 to 1979. His publications result from research trips to India, Pakistan, Canada, Japan and Fiji.