Behind the Scenes

Honoring the memory of Julie’s Great Grandfather

My son and I got the chance to be a part of a family gathering honoring the memory of my Great Grandfather, Dr. Arthur Clay Magill, in whose name the science and chemistry building at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau was dedicated in 1961.  .  .

They are expanding and renovating the building and wanted to show his family members the great progress they’re making. So about 60 of us gathered at SEMO on Sunday. Grandfather and Grandmother Magill had nine children, so we’re a big crowd. Magill Hall will nearly double in size and be outfitted with state of the art equipment for science and agriculture students when it reopens August 1st. And, one of the ag classrooms is being dedicated to the memory of his daughter, my great Aunt Frances Hunter Magill, whose family lives in Sikeston. Two of her grandchildren farm in the area.

I learned that Dr. Magill was loved by faculty, students and the community. One of his students said he did “not live in an ivory tower” but was passionate about sharing his knowledge with students and everyone. He tested 35,000 water samples for typhoid bacteria, at his own cost. He didn’t want anyone to suffer the losses to typhoid that he and his family did. Two of his brothers died and two sisters were disabled from typhoid fever. My father, the late Clay Magill Anderson, was named for his beloved Grandfather.

-Julie Harker

(Left to right:  Karen Bennett, Julie Harker, and Kelley Jeffers, Great Granddaughters of Dr. Magill with Magill Hall in background.)

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