University Mourns Passing of Dr. Harold McGee, 10th JSU President


The Jacksonville State University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Harold McGee, our tenth university president. Dr. McGee passed away on Saturday, March 3 at UAB Hospital in Birmingham. He was 74.

Dr. McGee served as JSU President from 1986 - 1999 and remained a familiar face around the campus after his retirement.

Harold McGee was born and received his early education in Portsmouth, Va. He received a bachelor’s degree with majors in history and education from Old Dominion University. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling from the University of Virginia.

Before becoming president of JSU, Dr. McGee served as the Vice President for Administrative Affairs at James Madison University. He was the Secretary and Administrative Aide to the University’s Board of Trustees and supervised the Valley of Virginia Consortium for Higher Education. Other appointments included Vice President for Student Affairs, Assistant to the President, Director of Graduate Studies, Sponsored Programs, and Continuing Education, Dean of the Graduate School, and department head.  Prior experience included service as the founding president of a 2,000 student comprehensive regional community college, three years as a high school history teacher and coach, and five years in public administration with the U.S. Office of Education.

During Dr. McGee's JSU administration, enrollment increased by 30 percent, technology was added to enhance student learning in the burgeoning digital age, $50 million in capital improvements were added, every professional program that could be accredited was accredited, the University developed its first master plan and capital campaign, and the JSU Foundation increased to more than $19 million.

He also authored two books, published articles in national journals in psychology, made invited presentations at state, southern, and national meetings, and served on state, southern, and national advisory boards.

After his retirement, Dr. McGee continued to serve JSU, the community and the state. He was a member of the JSU International House Foundation Board and was on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Pre-Paid Affordable College Tuition program and the Alabama Higher Education 529 Fund.

In 2001, JSU's new science building was named in Dr. McGee’s honor.

He is survived by his wife, Gayle Stevens McGee of Jacksonville; two sons, Andrew M. McGee of Jacksonville and Matthew H. McGee and his wife Lisa of Jackson, Wy.; one daughter, Margaret M. Gobin and her husband Kip of Charlottesville, Va.; two grandchildren, Garth H. McGee and Dylan C. McGee; a sister, Kathryn M. Hudson of Greenville, N.C.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold V. McGee and Mae J. Weber; and his son, Harold J. McGee, Jr.

Dr. McGee was an Episcopalian who was active in his church, United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and numerous professional education activities.

Visitation will be on Monday, March 5 from 5-7 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. The funeral service will be on Tuesday, March 6 at 11 a.m., also at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, with Rev. Michael Rich officiating. Graveside services will be on Friday, March 9, at 11 am at Woodland Cemetery in Colleen, Va.

Pallbearers will be William Hubbard, Franklin King, Donald Thacker, J. Michael Gamble, Matthew McGee and Garth McGee. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. William Meehan and Dr. Theron Montgomery.

Memorials in his honor may be made to the Jacksonville State University Biology Department or the Jacksonville Christian Outreach Center.

Condolences may be sent to:

Mrs. Gayle McGee
P. O. Box 897
Jacksonville, AL 36265-0897.

About the photo: Dr. Harold McGee at the April 2001 dedication of the McGee Science Building at Jacksonville State University. (Steve Latham/JSU photo)