William Symington McCormick

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William Symington McCormick
William Orpen - Sir William McCormick.jpg
Portrait by William Orpen
Born(1859-04-29)29 April 1859
Dumfries, Scotland
Died22 March 1930(1930-03-22) (aged 70)
At sea
EducationUniversity of Glasgow
OccupationScholar and educational administrator
Mabel Emily Cook (m. 1897–1930)
  • William McCormick
  • Agnes Ann Symington

Sir William Symington McCormick GBE FRS FRSE (29 April 1859 – 22 March 1930)[1] was a Scottish scholar and educational administrator.

Life and career[edit]

McCormick was born on 29 April 1859 on Dunbar Terrace in Dumfries, Scotland, the eldest son of William McCormick, an ironmonger, and his wife, Agnes Ann Symington.[2] He was educated locally at Dumfries High School.

After graduating MA from the University of Glasgow in 1880,[3] he worked for a short time as assistant lecturer in mathematics to Hugh Blackburn before attending the University of Göttingen and the University of Marburg to study literature. On his return to Scotland, he worked as assistant lecturer in English literature to John Nichol from 1884. In 1890, McCormick was appointed as Professor of English Language and Literature by the then University College, Dundee, alongside a lectureship at the University of St Andrews. When the women only Queen Margaret College amalgamated with the University of Glasgow in 1892–93, McCormick became the head of department and lecturer on English language and literature there.

McCormick career turned towards academic administration starting in 1900 when he was asked by the General Medical Council to prepare a report on preliminary examination for medical students. The following year, he was appointed as the first secretary of the Carnegie Trust.

In 1903 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Sir John Murray, Sir Robert Pullar, Robert Flint and Alexander Buchanan.[4]

From 1906 until his death, McCormick held a number of government committee positions related to state university funding. Alongside his many other positions, he served as chairman of the Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research from 1915.

McCormick received an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) from the University of St Andrews in February 1902.[5] In 1928, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society under its Statute 12 regulation for "conspicuous service to the cause of science, [and] such that his election would be of signal benefit to the Society".[6][7] Having already been made a Knight Bachelor in 1911,[8] McCormick was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1929.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In 1897 McCormick married Mabel Emily Cook, daughter of Sir Frederick Cook, 2nd Baronet in 1897.[10] Together, they had one son and two daughters. They lived at Frognal Priory in Hampstead, London.[11]

McCormick died at sea on 22 March 1930.



  • H. F. Heath; M. C. Curthoys (2004). "McCormick, Sir William Symington (1859–1930)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34692. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  1. ^ G, R. T. (12 April 1930). "Obituary: Sir William McCormicK, G.B.E., F.R.S". Nature. 125 (125): 569–571. Bibcode:1930Natur.125..569R. doi:10.1038/125569a0.
  2. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  3. ^ "Graduate Record for William Symington McCormick". The University of Glasgow Story. University of Glasgow. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  4. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  5. ^ "University intelligence". The Times (36691). London. 14 February 1902. p. 7.
  6. ^ "McCormick, Sir; William Symington". Certificate of a candidate of the privileged class for Election. The Royal Society. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  7. ^ "DServe Archive Persons Show". Library collection. The Royal Society. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Whitehall, July 8, 1911" (PDF). The London Gazette. 11 July 1911. p. 5167. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 March, 1929". The London Gazette. 1 March 1929. p. 1440. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Sir William Symington McCormick". The Peerage. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  11. ^ http://www.thepeerage.com/p25104.htm#i251039

External links[edit]