QU’s McGee signs contract extension through 2029

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Brian McGee, president of Quincy University — Submitted photo

QUINCY — Brian McGee, who has served as the 24th president of Quincy University since July 2019, recently signed an agreement to remain in that role through 2029.

The announcement was made by Ralph Oakley on behalf of the QU Board of Trustees, which unanimously supported the extension of McGee’s agreement with the university. Oakley is the board chair. By remaining president until 2029 or later, McGee, 56, would become one of the five longest-serving presidents in Quincy University history.

“On behalf of the board, my fellow QU alumni, and the members of the university community, I want to thank and congratulate Brian on this agreement,” Oakley said in the press release. “Brian has done a remarkable job at leading QU since he came to the university in 2019, including his commitment to meeting the needs of the Quincy region. We have seen dramatic institutional growth and important achievements on multiple fronts, and we look forward to more great things ahead under Brian’s leadership.”

“From my first day as president, the people of Quincy University and the Tri-State Region have welcomed me, supported me, and done everything I could have asked to make me feel at home,” McGee said. “To finish my career at QU would be an incredible honor, and we will continue to serve the alumni, students, faculty, and staff of this great institution to the very best of our ability. Together, we continue to make Quincy University better with each passing year.”

During McGee’s tenure:

  • At a time when many private universities in the Midwest are experiencing enrollment declines, Quincy University has had significant undergraduate enrollment growth and, for fall 2023, had its largest freshman class in 50 years.
  • The Success by Design program of the university, as initiated in 2019, now emphasizes student success in all phases of university life. Students work with advisors and success coaches to create individualized student success plans. Faculty, staff, and technology resources help students graduate on time and prepare for their careers or for additional educational opportunities.
  • Philanthropy has flourished at Quincy University since McGee’s arrival, with four of the university’s five largest fundraising years occurring during his time at QU. The university received the largest gift in institutional history, $6.5 million, in 2021.
  • The university has added or is in the process of adding several new academic and athletic programs, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, public health, arts management, sprint football, swimming, and wrestling. With new resources, the highly regarded honors program recently became the President’s Honors College.
  • Several QU facilities have had significant renovations in recent years with important projects completed or underway in Francis Hall, Cupertine Hall, the Health & Fitness Center, the University Center, North Campus and Legends Stadium (women’s and men’s soccer).

After moving to remote instruction during Spring 2020 because of COVID-19, the university returned to on-campus housing and face-to-face instruction in the 2020-2021 academic year.

“We appreciate everything President McGee and the faculty and staff did to keep students safe during the pandemic, while providing students with the personalized campus experience to which we are so committed at QU,” Oakley said.

“Our future at QU is bright,” McGee said. “In the coming years, we will improve our campus with building and renovation projects, and we will add exciting and innovative new programs to meet the needs of the twenty-first century. The talented and committed people of this university are the key to all the progress of the past few years. Together, we have so much more important work to do.”

McGee came to Quincy University after a lengthy career in higher education. With degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and The Ohio State University, he had faculty appointments at the University of Louisiana Monroe and Texas Tech University and later served as chair of the School of Communication at Spalding University, a Catholic institution in Kentucky.

McGee then spent much of his career at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, where he was a professor and, at different times, an academic department chair, chief of staff and senior vice president for executive administration, and provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

A native of Indiana, McGee has family ties to western Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. His parents grew up in Galesburg, and his late brother lived in Galesburg, Chicago and the Quad Cities.

“For me, Quincy has always felt like home,” McGee said. “Marsha and I love the history and the people of this region. Living and working in this community is a privilege and an honor.”

Quincy University’s longest-serving president, Fr. Anselm Mueller, OFM, was at QU for 37 years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. McGee was preceded by Phil Conover, who spent two years as president, and Robert Gervasi, who had nine years in the office.

Before 2008, QU presidents were priests or sisters in one of the Franciscan religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church.

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University is a small Catholic university emphasizing the sciences, liberal arts and the professions.

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