Papers of William James McGill, experimental psychologist, university administrator, author, teacher and community leader.
McGill's research in reaction time measurement contributed to advances in cognitive psychology and his leadership as chancellor
of the University of California, San Diego (1968-1970), and president of Columbia University (1970-1980), brought him to national
prominence. The collection contains research material, writings, speeches, correspondence, photographs and clipping files,
documenting McGill's scientific contributions, his skill as an administrator and his work with corporations and philanthropic
organizations. The papers span the period 1951-1997 and are arranged in nine series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL, 2) CORRESPONDENCE,
3) WRITINGS, 4) RESEARCH MATERIAL, 5) COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, 6) UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO, 7) BOARDS AND DIRECTORSHIPS,
8) PHOTOGRAPHS, and 9) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
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.