William J. McGill

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William James McGill
William James McGill.jpg
16th President of Columbia University
In office
Preceded byAndrew W. Cordier
Succeeded byMichael I. Sovern
3rd Chancellor of the University of California San Diego
In office
Preceded byJohn Semple Galbraith
Succeeded byHerbert York
Personal details
Born(1922-02-27)27 February 1922
New York City, New York, USA
Died19 October 1997(1997-10-19) (aged 75)
La Jolla, California, USA
Alma materFordham University
Harvard University

William James McGill (27 February 1922 – 19 October 1997) was an American psychologist, author, and academic administrator. He was the 16th president of Columbia University and the 3rd chancellor of the University of California San Diego.


McGill was born in New York City to a musician and labor organizer. He attended parochial Catholic schools and in 1939 began his college education at Fordham University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology. In 1953 he was awarded a doctorate in experimental psychology from Harvard University.

McGill was an assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology until 1956 and then joined Columbia. He was chairman of the psychology department from 1961 to 1963 and left in 1965 to help found a psychology department at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). In 1968 he accepted the job of chancellor at UCSD, after the first five offered the position turned it down.

In 1970 he left California to become the president of Columbia University from 1970 to 1980. From 1979 to 1981 McGill chaired Jimmy Carter's Presidential Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties.[1]


  1. ^ "President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties Announcement on the Establishment of the Commission. | the American Presidency Project".


  • Knubel, Fred (24 October 1997). "Ex-President Wm. McGill Dead at 75". Columbia University Record. 23 (7). Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  • "William James McGill." Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 5: 1997-1999. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002.
  • "William James McGill." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • "In memoriam William James McGill", Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 42, 1-4, 1998.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of California San Diego
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Columbia University
Succeeded by