University Hosts Magill Family Reception as Renovated Magill Hall Begins Taking Shape


Looking Ahead, Honoring a Legacy


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 18, 2012 — As major renovation work and construction of a three-story addition continue this summer in efforts to modernize and update the Magill Hall of Science, Southeast Missouri State University recently hosted a reception to kick off the Magill Family Reunion and honor the building’s namesake.

A reception honoring the memory of the “Father of Science” at Southeast was held July 15 in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. Nearly 60 family members attended. University officials gave a presentation on the legacy of Dr. Arthur Clay (A.C.) Magill, professor emeritus of chemistry, and Magill family members participated in a shuttle tour of Magill Hall on the north end of campus.

Jim Magill, son of Dr. A.C. and Ethel Magill, traveled from Virginia to Cape Girardeau for the event, along with his daughter, Fran Melone. Magill said he was amazed at how the University had grown since he graduated in 1937.

Several of Dr. A.C. Magill’s grandchildren in attendance said their grandfather would be pleased with the growth Southeast has experienced and the educational opportunities it provides to students, particularly in the sciences. They said their grandfather dedicated his life to education, supported his family in obtaining an education and was committed to educating his students at Southeast. His grandchildren also commented that their grandfather, Dr. Magill, was not only an “interesting” man but an “interested” man – always interested in increasing his own knowledge in many areas and sharing that knowledge with others.

University officials also recognized the family of W.P. and Frances Magill Hunter who have pledged a significant gift towards the project. In acknowledgment of this commitment, one of the agriculture teaching labs in the building will be named the “Frances Magill Hunter Memorial Classroom.” Frances Magill Hunter was one of Magill’s nine children and a Southeast alumna.

Teaching laboratories like this will help the building take on a new life of service for generations to come as the second century of the Magill legacy at Southeast Missouri State begins. Renovation and new construction totaling $22 million began on the building last summer. Work is being funded with $18 million in bond proceeds. Grants received from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education are providing a portion of the remaining $4 million.

The goal of the project is to renovate Magill Hall in its entirety and to complete a three-story addition on the north side of the original structure to expand classroom space. While improvements have been made to the building over the years, many of the existing systems have outlived their useful life and now require replacement, according to Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration. This includes the complete replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems within the building, she said.

The original Magill Hall building was comprised of four levels containing 64,450 gross square feet. The four floors consisted of a partial basement used primarily for mechanical equipment and storage, a first and second floor dedicated to instructional space and a small penthouse level containing space for mechanical equipment.

Over time, the building has undergone some modifications and improvements, most significantly, those made to the science labs over the past four years. Thanks to funding from federal grants and student fees, renovations have been made to three chemistry laboratories, two physics laboratories and most recently two biology laboratories partially funded from a Title Three federal grant.

“The benefits resulting from the reconstruction of the Magill Hall of Science will be realized for many years beyond 2014,” said Dr. Chris McGowan, dean of the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. “The increased space and state-of-the-art equipment added during this renovation will allow Southeast Missouri State University to continue to attract top-notch faculty and greater numbers of students interested in entering the fields of biology, chemistry, agriculture, physics, engineering physics and environmental sciences.”

Exterior renovations include window replacement, masonry restoration and roof replacement. The exterior walls of the facility are currently un-insulated and are being furred out and insulated as part of this project. The exterior improvements, combined with the installation of contemporary energy efficient mechanical systems, will have a significant impact on the thermal performance of the building and will result in a significant reduction of operational costs for the facility, Mangels said.

The interior of the building, with the exception of the most recently upgraded laboratories, is being totally renovated. The complete interior renovation of the facility will provide the opportunity to accomplish two significant goals for the University, she said. First, it will allow the complete remediation of all hazardous materials within the existing facility, both the Americium 241 contamination that occurred many years ago and the abatement of all asbestos containing materials. Secondly, the renovation is providing the opportunity to reorganize the current floor plans, she said.

In order to facilitate the renovation process and alleviate the shortage of overall space, the project is adding a contiguous addition to the north of Magill Hall. The three-story, new addition will house a lecture room and mechanical and electrical space on the first floor. The second floor will have two lecture rooms and a small conference area. The third floor is entirely devoted to mechanical space for housing new air handling equipment. The mechanical equipment will serve the new addition and all of the spaces in Magill Hall, according to Lisa Howe, Facilities Management project manager.

Work is progressing on schedule, she said. Sheetrock is now complete in both the addition on the north side of and on the east side of the existing building. In the addition, mechanical, electrical and plumbing “rough in” piping is now functional, and metal exterior panels, the roof and glass are now complete. Installation of terrazzo flooring is under way, and the transformer and power are now on, Howe said.

Renovation on the east side of the existing building is also moving ahead. Roof work is under way, and painting is in progress. Epoxy flooring in classrooms is complete and cabinets are being set, she said. Acoustical tile ceilings and lighting are being installed, doors have been delivered and elevator work is under way.

Telecommunications has begun wiring to provide technology packages for classrooms, and furniture for both the new addition and the east side of the existing building will be installed Aug. 1.

Classes have continued in portions of Magill Hall throughout the current construction. Howe says students will occupy the new addition and the newly renovated east side of the existing building when fall 2012 semester classes begin Aug. 20. The west side renovations will be complete in 2013.

It is estimated that, during the 2013-2014 academic year, 7,000 students will receive their science education in Magill Hall – an increase of more than 8.5 percent as a result of additional space. Furthermore, an increased number of undergraduate and graduate students will be able to work with faculty in Magill’s expanded and enhanced research labs, McGowan said.

Magill Hall of Science

Since 1961, the Magill Hall of Science has been the home of science education at Southeast Missouri State. Students majoring in chemistry, biology, agriculture, physics, engineering physics, geology and environmental science have spent the majority of their college years in the research labs, teaching labs, classrooms and study areas in the building.

Virtually all Southeast students, regardless of their field of study, have taken their basic science classes in Magill Hall. During the 2010-2011 academic year alone, more than 6,400 students from across campus were educated in Magill Hall, working with faculty in the classrooms and science labs to acquire the hands-on learning experience critical to their future success.

Generations of Southeast students — graduate and undergraduate, traditional and nontraditional, from across America and around the world — have achieved their dreams of becoming science teachers, doctors, nurses, wildlife biologists, college professors, farmers, research scientists and engineers as a result of their experiences at the Magill Hall of Science.

Dr. A.C. Magill

For more than a century, the name “Magill” has been central to science education at Southeast Missouri State. For 43 years, Magill taught young minds to think critically, inspired future science teachers and medical professionals and served the public through his own scientific research and community service. For the past 51 years, the Magill Hall of Science has carried on his legacy of learning.

Magill began his career at then Southeast Missouri State Teachers College in 1909 and served as professor of chemistry and head of the science department throughout most of his 43 years of service to the institution. Southeast honored his years of service to the institution with the naming of a new science building for him in 1961.

“Dr. Magill’s years at Southeast Missouri State and his lifetime of service to the entire region made the choice of a name for the new structure an easy one,” McGowan said.

Dedication of Magill Hall of Science was held on Magill’s 80th birthday, Oct. 12, 1961.

A highly educated man, having completed his college education at Cape Girardeau Normal School, the University of Missouri and the George Peabody College for Teachers, was well prepared to share his passion for education and science with Southeast students. He was also highly qualified to work with faculty and administration to guide the institution throughout the first half of the 20th Century.

In a letter dated June 4, 1935, Southeast’s President W. W. Parker described Magill as “a man of splendid administrative personality. He has excellent social qualities and is a most effective public speaker. He deals diplomatically with students, with his colleagues and with the public.”

During his last year on faculty in 1951, Southeast Missouri State College’s Homecoming was dedicated to Dr. Magill, and Magill family members joined former students and fellow educators to honor his legacy.

As demonstrated through his work at Southeast as well as his service to the region and to Missouri, Magill was a scientist, humanitarian, legislator, public servant, scholar, author and, above all, an educator.

More than the “father of science” at Southeast, Magill was the patriarch of a wonderful family. Together with his wife of more than 60 years, he raised nine children who have ventured from their home on Bessie Street in Cape Girardeau to leave their own legacies throughout the United States and around the world.

Today, Dr. and Mrs. Magill’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren live their lives with the values and high ideals demonstrated by A.C. Magill.

“Magill brought professionalism, academic integrity, innovation and passion to science education at Southeast during his 43 years of service,” McGowan said. “Those who have followed on faculty and in the administration have sought to continue Dr. Magill’s high standards in the building bearing his name for the past 51 years.”