Former MSU president Maurice Cecil Mackey, Jr. dies

Maurice Cecil Mackey, Jr., MSU's 16th president, passed away on February 8th. He was 89 years old.

Mackey served as MSU President from 1979 to 1985. He came to MSU after stints at the University of South Florida and Texas Tech University. MSU was facing a nearly $30 million budget shortfall when Mackey arrived.

“Cecil Mackey led MSU during some of its toughest budget years and his training as an economist was fully tested,” Interim MSU President John Engler said. “But he conducted himself with a grace and civility that always left those he encountered amazed at his inner strength. His presence on campus in the classrooms and courtside will be missed. To his wife, Clare, and the Mackey family I offer my sincere condolences upon the passing of a true Spartan.”

Mackey started a program for establishing endowed chairs, increased private financial support to the university and opened the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and other academic and athletic facilities.

Colleagues described Mackey, an Alabama native, as a soft-spoken Southern gentleman and a man of principle. An avid runner and tennis player, he and his wife, Clare, remained in East Lansing following his tenure and Mackey continued teaching economics courses at MSU.

Memorial services will be scheduled at a later date in Deerfield Beach, Florida and East Lansing, Michigan. Burial will be scheduled at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.