Remembering Jeff McGill

Posted on September 14, 2018

A longtime Smith faculty member and Professor Emeritus, Jeff McGill passed away at his home in Kingston on Aug. 10. A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at Goodes Hall Tuesday, Sept. 18.
A longtime Smith faculty member and Professor Emeritus, Jeff McGill passed away at his home in Kingston on Aug. 10. A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held at Goodes Hall Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Kingston, ON – One mark of a great professor is how much he or she gives back to colleagues, students and others. In that regard, Jeff McGill was simply outstanding.

“Jeff was a mentor to many, he gave back as an editor of academic journals and he had a significant impact in making [Smith] a leader in analytics,” Brent Gallupe, Smith Professor Emeritus, said in remembering his friend and colleague. “We were very fortunate to have him at the school.”

A longtime Smith faculty member and Professor Emeritus, Jeff McGill passed away at his home in Kingston on Aug. 10 surrounded by family. He was 68.

McGill joined Smith in 1993 as an assistant professor. His area of research was dynamic pricing and revenue management. Essentially the study of selling the right product to the right people at the right time and the right price, revenue management has in recent years become a popular topic in business. Yet in the 1990s, it was still something new. McGill was an early expert, notably in the area of transportation and airline pricing.

“A lot of people consider him a pioneer in the field,” said Yuri Levin, Executive Director of Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Smith.

In 2013, Levin and McGill led the launch of the Master of Management Analytics program. “Analytics is really starting to brand the school. Without Jeff’s support and influence, the analytics program here would have had a much slower start,” Gallupe said.

McGill’s work was recognized by his peers many times. Among his awards: the 2008 Research Historical Prize in Revenue Management and Pricing from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). In 2013 McGill, Levin and fellow Smith professor Mikhail Nediak were awarded the INFORMS Practice Prize in Revenue Management and Pricing.

McGill’s work was also recognized at Smith. In 2008, he received the school’s Research Achievement Award.

Despite his accolades, McGill was a modest man. “He did not brag. He was passionate about the profession and the school, and he showed a great deal of respect to his colleagues, particularly younger colleagues,” Levin said.

Queen’s Deputy Provost Teri Shearer remembers McGill for his generosity to others, devotion to friends and for his leadership in management science at Smith. “He was very community minded and he put the group ahead of himself,” Shearer said.

Gallupe recalls his sense of humour, always delivered with “a smile and twinkle in his eyes.” Outside work, McGill enjoyed golfing and playing poker with friends. “He was just a good person,” Gallupe said.

Jeffrey McGill was born Nov. 1, 1949 in Montreal. After graduating with a BSc in physics from Bishop’s University in 1970, he took a job in new product development at Domtar in Montreal. Three years later, he went to work in operations research at CN Rail, while getting his MSc in mathematics from Concordia University.

McGill began teaching in 1979, first at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of British Columbia (where he received his PhD in management science in 1990), then at the University of Denver.

One student McGill made a lasting impression on was Kam Moud, MSc’04, now Managing Director with AIG in New York City. The two met during one of the school’s information sessions. Moud had just moved to Canada from Sweden and was thinking of returning to school. McGill encouraged him to apply to the Master of Science in Management program, and over the next several years, “he took me under his wing and gave me a lot of guidance,” Moud said, adding McGill was as helpful to other students as well.

Upon graduation Moud thought he’d like to one day repay McGill for all his help. He did just that three years ago, creating a scholarship in McGill’s name.

Today, the Jeff McGill Graduate Fellowship is awarded to an international student on the basis of academic excellence enrolled in the MSc or PhD management science programs.

Said Moud: “In your life there are people whose support makes a real difference to you, and you end up somewhere better for it. For me, Jeff became one of those people.”

In honour of Jeff’s contribution to Queen’s and his field, Smith School of Business invites you to support the establishment of the Jeff McGill Faculty Fellowship, created to celebrate exemplary teaching and support high-quality research by a Smith faculty member.
 
You may also support the Jeff McGill Graduate Fellowship, awarded on the basis of academic excellence to students enrolled in the MSc or PhD program in Management at Smith.

To support these fellowships or for more information, please visit givetoqueens.ca/jeffmcgill