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