John Boyd Orr, 1st Baron Boyd-Orr, CH, DSO, MC, FRS (23 September 1880 – 25 June 1971), also known as Sir John Boyd Orr from 1935 to 1949, was a Scottish teacher, doctor, biologist and politician who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his scientific research into nutrition and his work as the first Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Co-founder and the first President (1960-1971) of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS).
John Boyd Orr was born at Kilmaurs, near Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland, the middle child in a family of seven children. His father, Robert Clark Orr, was a quarry owner, and a man of deep religious convictions, being a member of a sect of the Free Church of Scotland. His mother, Annie Boyd, was the daughter of another quarry master, wealthier than Robert Orr, and grandmaster of a Freemason's Lodge.
The family home was well supplied with books, and his father was widely read in political, sociological and metaphysical subjects, as well as religion. As he grew older, John would regularly discuss these subjects with his father, brothers, and visiting friends. There was also family worship each evening.
When John was five years old, the family suffered a setback when a ship owned by Robert Orr was lost at sea. They had to sell their home in Kilmaurs, and moved to West Kilbride, a village on the North Ayrshire coast. According to Kay, the new house and environment were a great improvement on Kilmaurs, despite the family's reduced means. The major part of his up-bringing took place in and around West Kilbride. He attended the village school until he was thirteen. Religion was then an important part of junior education in Scotland, and the school gave him a good knowledge of the Bible, which stayed with him for the rest of his life.
At the age of thirteen, John won a bursary to Kilmarnock Academy, a significant achievement as such bursaries were then rare. The new school was some 20 mi...