|Residence United States|
Name Margaret MacVicar
Alma mater MIT
|Known for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, MIT Dean for Undergraduate Education|
Died September 30, 1991, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Education Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Remembering margaret macvicar
Margaret L.A. (Scotty) MacVicar (November 20, 1943 – September 30, 1991) was an American physicist and educator. In addition to serving as MIT's Dean of Undergraduate Education (1985–1990), MacVicar is credited with founding the now widely emulated Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) in 1969. MacVicar received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at MIT and joined the faculty, giving her the rare distinction of being a "MIT lifer."
MacVicar was born on November 20, 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario to George and Elizabeth MacVicar. Her family relocated to Flint, Michigan in 1946 where she lived until she graduated from high school in 1961. Because she had been taking classes at a local junior college as a high school student, a local retired General Motors senior executive offered to help defray the costs of attending MIT.
At MIT, she was among the first women to live at the McCormick Hall women's dormitory which opened in the fall of 1963. She received a bachelor of science degree in physics in 1964 (though she considered herself affiliated with the class of 1965, with which she entered MIT) and a doctor of science (Sc.D) degree in metallurgy and materials science in 1967. Between 1967 and 1969, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the Royal Society Mond section of Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. She joined the Department of Physics at MIT in 1969 where her research investigated high-temperature metal and ceramic superconductors, single crystal and thin-film materials research, and detecting corrosion kinetics using superconducting magnetometry.
As Dean for Undergraduate Education, she worked to recruit more women, minorities, and students of varied interests, implemented changes in the humanities and social science requirements, and publicly criticized a Department of Defense policy barring homosexuals from ROTC programs.
Professor MacVicar's was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Clarkson University in 1985. She was Orator at the 1984 Literary Exercises of Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University; Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Texas in 1979; and Vollmer W. Fries Lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1976. She was a member of the Corporations of the Charles S. Draper Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a trustee of Radcliffe College and of the Boston Museum of Science, and a director of Exxon Corporation, the Harvard/MIT Cooperative Society and H. W. Brady Company. She was a fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1986, MacVicar was awarded the Valeria A. Knapp Award by The College Club of Boston in memory of the teacher and director of The Winsor School, a girls' college prep school, from 1951-1963.
She died on September 30, 1991 at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a year after being diagnosed with cancer.
MacVicar established the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program in 1969 based upon a suggestion from Edwin H. Land. The program allows undergraduates to gain hands-on research experience with faculty members around the university and provides the laboratories with the funds to employ the students. More than 3,000 undergraduates (75% of the undergraduate population) participate annually. The program has since been cited as a model educational program by the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and several private foundations.
MacVicar Faculty Fellows
Each year, beginning in 1992, members of the faculty are selected as Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows "to recognize faculty members who have profoundly influenced our students through their sustained and significant contributions to teaching and curriculum development." The fellows are appointed for a ten-year term and receive support from the Teaching and Learning Laboratory. The fellows are announced on "MacVicar Day" in early March with roundtable discussions and symposia centered on various facets of undergraduate education such as curriculum requirements, mentoring, classrooms, international exposure.