McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997

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McGill and Anderson were founding members of UCSD's Dept. of Psychology. McGill was also the third chancellor of UCSD and President of Columbia University.

From the description of Conversations, 1981-1985 [sound recording]. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 40643023

Professor of psychology, 1956-1965, and later President of Columbia University, 1970-1980.

From the description of Papers, 1929-1979. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122567077

University president, psychologist.

From the description of Reminiscences of William James McGill : oral history, 1980. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309736126

Born in New York City on February 27, 1922, McGill received bachelor's and master's degrees from Fordham University (1943 and 1947) and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard in 1953. He taught as an instructor at Fordham and Boston College (1947-1951); at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory (1951-1954); at Columbia University (1956-1965); and at the University of California, San Diego (1965-1968, 1980-1997). He was the third chancellor of UCSD (1968-1970) and president of Columbia University (1970-1980). McGill died on October 19, 1997.

From the description of William J. McGill papers, 1951-1997. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 29248676

President of Columbia University through the 1970s.

From the description of Oral history interview with William J. McGill, 1997 Sept. 12 and 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80923375

Biography

William James McGill was born February 27, 1922, in New York City. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Fordham University (1943 and 1947), and completed a Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1953 with a specialization in signal detection theory. He began his teaching career as an instructor in psychology at Fordham and Boston College (1947-1951). In 1951 he joined the staff of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory, and became an assistant professor at M.I.T. in 1954. In 1956 he accepted an assistant professorship at Columbia University and obtained tenure in 1960.

McGill came to UCSD in 1965 as a professor of psychology, helping to set up the psychology department, and continuing his work in signal detection and information processing. In 1968 McGill was named chairman of a search committee to select a new chancellor for UCSD. When the search proved unsuccessful, McGill was offered the job, and after some hesitation, accepted. Student political activism was increasing on the San Diego campus, and the reputation of the university was under fire from local newspapers and community groups. One cause of this turmoil was McGill's decision to reappoint Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse to the UCSD faculty. Another was McGill's public affirmation of Angela Davis' right to teach at UCLA. McGill's stand on academic freedom brought him into conflict with then Governor Ronald Reagan and with Superintendent of Schools Max Rafferty. On the campus, he dealt with student anti-war demonstrations, strikes and demands for greater minority representation. He later wrote of this period in a book, The Year Of The Monkey (1983), an analysis and interpretation of the events during his UCSD chancellorship.

In 1970, McGill returned to Columbia University as its 16th President, a position he held for ten years. McGill brought order to Columbia's financial resources, balanced the budget and continued to deal with unrest. Students, and the surrounding community, protested the war in Viet Nam, minority representation, the Triga nuclear reactor, and the University's role as a landlord. During this period Columbia admitted women students and completed new building and restoration projects.

In 1980 McGill retired from Columbia and accepted an appointment as adjunct professor of psychology at UCSD, where he taught courses on the psychology of group protest. He also joined the boards of the Weingart Foundation and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, and worked with several community centered organizations. His philanthropic pursuits led him to found San Diego Dialogue, an organization designed to further relations between San Diego and Tijuana.

William McGill was recognized with honorary degrees and awards and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the chairman of advisory panels and commissions, most notably the President's Commission on a National Agenda for the Eighties during the Carter administration.

William McGill died October 19, 1997.

From the guide to the William J. McGill Papers, 1951 - 1997, (Mandeville Special Collections Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997. Oral history interview with William J. McGill, 1997 Sept. 12 and 15. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997. William J. McGill papers, 1951-1997. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Historical Biographical Files, [18--?] - 2012. Columbia University. University Archives. Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf William J. McGill Papers, 1951 - 1997 Mandeville Special Collections Library
referencedIn Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting. Records, 1969-1980. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory oral history project, 1995-1997. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Nagel, Ernest, 1901-1985. Papers, 1930-1988. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Barnard College. Barnard College alumnae memorabilia collection, 1905-1960. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. : Series II., Alfred A. Knopf Personal, 1874-1984 (bulk 1953-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997. Papers, 1929-1979. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Ernest Nagel Papers, 1930-1988 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980. Mr. Hitchcock's speech at the Columbia University alumni luncheon, 1972 June 6. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Stull, John, 1920-. An interview with Mr. John Stull (Assemblyman, 80th District) and Mr. Harry Foster (representing the American Legion) / [interviewed by] Harold Keen. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Central Files, 1890-1984, [Bulk Dates: 1890-1983] Columbia University. University Archives. Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Office of the Chancellor. Subject Files, 1958-2000 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn De Bary, William Theodore, 1919-. Oral history interview with William T. De Bary, 1997 May 27. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997. Conversations, 1981-1985 [sound recording]. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999, [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972]. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University Archives
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series V., Editor Files, 1873-1984 (bulk 1960-1980). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn University of California, San Diego. Office of the Chancellor. UCSD Chancellor's subject files, 1958-2000. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf McGill, William J. (William James), 1922-1997. Reminiscences of William James McGill : oral history, 1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Mary Hyde Eccles papers Houghton Library
referencedIn Columbia University. Archives. University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 (Bulk dates 1968-1972). Nolan, Norton & Company, Incorporated
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Norman H. person
associatedWith Barnard College. corporateBody
associatedWith Broecker, Wallace S., 1931- person
associatedWith Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting. corporateBody
associatedWith Columbia University. corporateBody
associatedWith Columbia University. Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Columbia University. Office of the President corporateBody
associatedWith Columbia University. University Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith De Bary, William Theodore, 1919- person
associatedWith Doel, Ronald Edmund. person
associatedWith Eccles, Mary Hyde. person
associatedWith Ewing, W. Maurice (William Maurice), 1906-1974. person
associatedWith Gardner, John W. (John William), 1912-2002. person
associatedWith Graff, Henry, person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899-1980. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009. person
associatedWith Kirk, Grayson L. (Grayson Louis), 1903-1997. person
associatedWith Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology. corporateBody
associatedWith Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978. person
associatedWith Moynihan, Daniel P. (Daniel Patrick), 1927-2003. person
associatedWith Nagel, Ernest, 1901-1985. person
associatedWith Nierenberg, William Aaron, 1919-2000. person
associatedWith Salk, Jonas, 1914-1995. person
associatedWith San Diego Dialogue (Program) corporateBody
associatedWith Sills, Beverly. person
associatedWith Stull, John, 1920- person
associatedWith Talwani, Manik. person
associatedWith University of California, San Diego. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, San Diego. Faculty. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, San Diego. Office of the Chancellor. corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Santa Barbara. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
California--San Diego
Subject
Geology
Education
Oceanography
Public broadcasting
Psychologists--Interviews
Medical personnel--Malpractice
Students--Political activity
Psychology
Science--History
Psychologists--Biography
Broadcasting
Student strikes
University of California, San Diego--Faculty
Geophysics
Student strikes--California--San Diego
Universities and colleges
College presidents--Interviews
Occupation
College presidents--Interviews
College administrators
Function

Person

Birth 1922-02-27

Death 1997-10-19

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