President Dr. Brian McGee

Dr. McGee and his bow tie at QU’s historic Francis Hall

Brian McGee is the 24th president of Quincy University. He took office on July 1, 2019, following a lengthy national search. McGee is the third layperson to serve as president of QU.

McGee’s grandfathers did not finish high school, and his parents were the first members of their families to earn university degrees. Influenced by this family history, McGee is committed to expanding access to higher education and to providing opportunities to students of all backgrounds. QU’s Success by Design program responds directly to this commitment and to McGee’s desire that Quincy University be at the forefront of the student success movement in American higher education.

Since McGee’s arrival, QU has added new academic and athletic programs and renovated portions of Francis Hall, Cupertine Hall, and Brenner Library. The university responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by significantly enhancing campus wireless connectivity and expanding online course offerings. New campus landmarks and outdoor spaces have prioritized student activities and the creation of a welcoming community. Innovations during McGee’s time have included the new Succeeding by Design fundraising campaign, individualized student success plans, the opportunity for all students to study core business principles, and a new system of seven “houses,” with each new undergraduate students assigned to a house. McGee also has served on the executive committee of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities.

Before coming to Quincy University, McGee was the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the College of Charleston, a university of about 10,000 students in South Carolina. Under his academic leadership, Charleston created 16 new academic programs and concentrations, with substantial growth in distance education offerings. Working with a large group of collaborators, McGee approved the creation of a new Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston and added Charleston to the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium. The number of full-time faculty of color in Charleston increased during his time as provost, and new fundraising initiatives provided support for student scholarships, faculty hiring, and community engagement.

During his tenure as provost, the College of Charleston had steady enrollment growth for students of color, expanded support services for at-risk and transfer students, and created new programs for active-duty military personnel and military veterans. McGee also served while provost as a member of the executive committee of the Colonial Academic Alliance, a ten-university consortium devoted to academic collaboration.

Before McGee was provost, he served as Charleston’s chief of staff and senior vice president of executive administration. In this role he supervised the Office of the President and several other campus offices and programs, including the Office of Institutional Diversity. While McGee was chief of staff, the Student Government Association recognized him with their highest award for service to Charleston students.

McGee initially went to Charleston to become chair of the Department of Communication, which housed one of the university’s largest undergraduate programs. As a tenured professor of communication, he was also a member of the graduate faculty and a faculty associate in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. While McGee was chair, Charleston’s communication major was recognized for the first time in The Princeton Review’s “Great Schools for 20 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors.” A communication master’s degree program also was added.

Prior to his time in Charleston, McGee taught at Spalding University (Kentucky), a Catholic institution, where he was founding chair of the School of Communication and the first director of the Business Communication Graduate Program. He also worked at Texas Tech University and at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe). McGee has over 20 years of teaching experience and has been a high school and college debate coach. A strong advocate of shared governance and faculty engagement, McGee was the parliamentarian of three different faculty senates during his career as a professor.

Dr. McGee running selfie
Dr. McGee’s post-run selfie in front of Helein Hall

McGee’s research covers several areas, including political rhetoric; argumentation and debate; and communication about race, ethnicity, and gender. He has published numerous research articles and book chapters and is the former editor of an academic journal. McGee also has provided expert commentary on political campaign communication for television and radio news outlets in several states. As a result of his work in higher education, he is the co-author of a book, A Toolkit for Provosts: A Series of Real Stories and Case Studies(Rowman & Littlefield).

With the support of a debate scholarship, McGee earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The debate team won three national championships while he was at the university, twice with McGee serving as team captain. McGee also earned his master’s degree in speech communication from Southern Illinois. He received his doctorate in communication from Ohio State University.

McGee grew up in Summitville, Indiana, a town of about 900. His parents, Carolyn and Jim, are from Galesburg, Illinois, and his late brother lived in Galesburg, Chicago, and the Quad Cities. Many members of McGee’s extended family live near Galesburg or elsewhere in Illinois, and the various branches of his family have been in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri since the early 1800s.

Hobbies for McGee include choral singing and an occasional game of golf. McGee, a Catholic, has been a cantor (song leader) in several parish churches. He has become an avid runner in recent years, logging over 20 miles a week. QU students are also aware of his ongoing feud with the campus squirrels and McGee’s passion for waffles and vintage waffle makers.