MC to receive largest gift in history

MC to receive largest gift in history

May 8, 2017

Maryville College soon will receive its largest gift in history.

Approximately $15 million is coming to the College from the estate of Dan and Elaine McGill.

Generating much applause and cheering, President Tom Bogart made the announcement today to faculty, staff, students, Board members and other supporters who gathered in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts.

“Per their instruction, the gift will be allocated as follows: $1 million will be directed to Anderson Hall, and in their honor, the first floor will henceforth be known as ‘The McGill Family Floor.’ The remaining $14 million is designated for endowed scholarships,” Bogart said. “The McGills made this legacy gift so that the College could help talented and deserving young people earn a Maryville College degree.”

The scholarships will carry Dan McGill’s name and that of the couple’s daughter, Melanie. They will be awarded to students beginning in 2019, which is the College’s Bicentennial Year.

“Dan and Elaine originally established this scholarship in memory of Melanie, but Elaine requested that the scholarship memorialize her husband’s commitment and service to Maryville College, as well,” Bogart explained. “Throughout their marriage and Dan’s demanding career, Elaine, a native of Colorado, was an incredibly supportive wife and mother. In fact, Dan and Elaine enjoyed 60 years of marriage.

“They were active members of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, as well as members of Clover Hill Presbyterian Church here in Maryville,” he added.

Dan McGill passed away in 2013; Elaine McGill died last July. They are interred at Clover Hill Cemetery.

Bogart said the College looked forward to honoring and celebrating the McGills’ legacy through a new scholarship program.

An accomplished economist

Dan McGill, a native of Greenback, Tenn., and graduate of Friendsville High School, majored in economics at Maryville College and graduated with the Class of 1940. A year later, he received his master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, McGill earned a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where his research focused on life insurance.

“In fact, he began his research on risk and insurance as an undergraduate here,” Bogart told the crowd. “His Senior Study, which was optional at that time, focused on state programs for insuring bank deposits that were precursors to the FDIC created by [U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt].”

McGill began his career at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and then joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After three years in Chapel Hill, he resumed active military duty during the Korean War. Following his service, he began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and was named the first Frederick Eckert Professor of Life Insurance in 1956.

The MC graduate chaired the Insurance Department for the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 24 years. He served as a consultant to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve for almost 20 years, in addition to serving on multiple corporate and organizational boards. McGill was a prolific researcher and authored seven books. He was considered an authority in the pension industry.

“Dan was respected and admired by all who knew him,” the MC president said.

A longtime MC supporter

A Maryville College Alumni Citation and Honorary Degree recipient, McGill served on the Maryville College’s Board of Directors from 1971 until 1979, chairing the Board for the last five years. He also chaired the College’s VISION 1994 Campaign.

In 1994, McGill was recognized with the Maryville College Medallion, which is the highest award presented by the College. Awarded since 1990, it recognizes those individuals who have helped immeasurably toward perpetuating the College as a distinctive educational and cultural institution and who have had a profound influence on the future course of Maryville College.

Speaking on behalf of the current Board of Directors, Dr. Mary Kay Sullivan, chair, expressed gratitude for the bequest.

“Dr. McGill was deeply involved in the life of the College for seven decades and, as a former chairman of the College’s Board of Directors, understood the power of a transformational gift better than most,” she said. “Maryville College will be a much stronger institution because of his foresight and his and Elaine’s incredible generosity.”

Written by Karen Beaty Eldridge ’94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.