In Memoriam: M. Cecil Mackey (1929-2018)

14 02 2018

MSU President Emeritus M. Cecil Mackey passed away on February 8, 2018 at the age of 89.  Mackey served as president of MSU from 1979 to 1985.


MSU President Cecil Mackey holding a Spartan S flag in September 1979.  Photo source: UA 8.1.1, Box 2712, Folder 6 (A005734)

Maurice Cecil Mackey was born January 23, 1929 in Montgomery, Alabama.  In 1949, he received his B.A. in economics from the University of Alabama and went on to receive an M.A. in economics in 1953.  In that same year, he married Clare Siewert.  In 1955, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois, where he focused on economic theory, the history of economic thought, and the relationship of government to business and finance.

In 1956, Mackey was on active duty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Denver. He served as an associate professor of economics and worked on the economics curriculum.  In 1957, he was a lecturer of business law at the University of Alabama.  A year later, he received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Alabama.  In 1958, Mackey was admitted to the State Bar of Alabama and began studying law at the graduate level at Harvard University.  From 1959 to 1962, he was an assistant law professor at University of Alabama.

In 1962, Mackey became Assistant Counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly.  In 1963, he became the director of the Office of Policy and Development for the Federal Aviation Agency.  There he was in charge of long-range planning and economic research.  In 1965, he became the director of the Office of Transportation Policy for the U.S. Department of Commerce and developed programs and policies for transportation systems.

Mackey became Assistant Secretary for Policy and Development for the Department of Transportation in 1967.  He planned policies, programs as well as worked on regulation.  In 1969, Mackey was a visiting professor at the University of Maryland College of Business and Public Administration.  He then went on to become a Professor of Law at Florida State University from 1969 to 1971.  From 1971 to 1976, he served as the President of the University of South Florida.  In 1976, he became President of Texas Tech University as well as a Professor of Law.


President Cecil Mackey sitting at the boardroom table in the Hannah Administration Building. Photo source: UA 8.1.1, Box 2712, Folder 8.

On August 3, 1979, Mackey was inaugurated as President of Michigan State University.  He served as President until 1985.  After serving as president, Mackey continued to teach economics at MSU.

Rest in Peace President Mackey.

Information about memorial services and giving can be found on the MSU Today website:





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