|Columbia University Archives|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series.
This collection contains copies of William McGill's speeches delivered at Columbia University as well as at numerous other institutions from 1971 to 1980. It includes commencement speeches delivered at Columbia as well as Barnard and Cornell.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located on-site.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William McGill speeches, 1971-1980; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additional speeches can be found in the William J. McGill papers, 1929-1979 (MS#0822) and in Central Files (UA#0001).
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Emily Burns (CC 2017). Finding aid written by Joanna Rios in May 2019.
2019-05-17 File created.
2019-06-13 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
William James McGill was born February 27, 1922, in New York City, the son of a musician and grandson of an Irish immigrant dockworker. Raised in the Bronx, he sold shoes and ran an elevator at Radio City Music Hall as a schoolboy. After receiving bachelor's and Master's degrees at Fordham, he earned the PhD in experimental psychology in 1953 at Harvard and was an assistant professor at MIT until 1956, when he joined Columbia. He was chairman of the psychology department from 1961 to 1963 and left in 1965 to co-found the psychology department at the newly established University of California, San Diego campus.
After serving as chancellor at UC San Diego, he became Columbia University's 16th president on September 1, 1970, at the age of 48. As president, McGill was determined to mend ties with the community and end violent student protests. He had a reputation for thrusting himself into the middle of student protests to converse with the leaders. In addition to student protests, when McGill took office he faced more than a decade's worth of budget deficits. Resolved to correct the budget problems, McGill stalled University growth and in 1978 was able to report to the trustees that the University had achieved financial stability. During his presidency, the University's fund-raising performance recovered dramatically; he balanced the budget and completed $100 million in new construction. McGill returned to UC San Diego in 1980, became an adjunct professor of psychology and continued his research.