Gary McGrath ’68, history major, earned a master of science in student personnel administration at Western Illinois University and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University.
He served the Morris campus for 17 years of his career in higher education, first as director of activities from 1968 until 1972, then as vice chancellor of student affairs from 1986 until 1999. He also coached Cougar golf teams. Many of Morris’s distinguishing characteristics, both in educational philosophy and physical space, can be traced back to the years that McGrath served Morris. He led the successful lobbying effort to secure capital funding for the Student Center in 1992. His strategies, in particular using students’ voices to tell the campus story, became the foundation for the successful lobbying effort to secure capital funding for Science and Math and the Regional Fitness Center, and for significant improvements to several campus buildings. McGrath built strong student development and support services. He encouraged new programs supporting diverse and inclusive learning environments. He added support for the recruitment, retention, and success of students of color. He advanced women’s athletics on campus, including securing legislative special funding for gender equity to establish the women’s soccer program.
In 2010, McGrath retired as dean of student affairs from Arizona State University Polytechnical Campus, where he helped lead the establishment of a new campus. During his leadership, the student body grew from 1,400 students in 1999 to more than 9,000 students in 2010, and student activities, residential life programs and facilities, health and wellness programming, and diversity programs were created. He has served as a leader in the National Association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.