East Lansing — Maurice Cecil Mackey Jr., who was president of Michigan State University from 1979 to 1985, died Feb. 8 at age 89, the university said Wednesday.
“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 in a statement. “But he conducted himself with a grace and civility that always left those he encountered amazed at his inner strength.”
Taking office during a steep recession, Mackey made budget cuts to cover a nearly $30 million shortfall, including reducing the size of the MSU College of Nursing.
Mackey also increased fundraising and opened the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and other academic and athletic facilities.
Mackey, MSU’s 16th president, was born Jan. 23, 1929, in Montgomery, Alabama.
Mackey received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Alabama, and a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois.
In 1953, Mackey married Clare Siewert, a Detroit native who grew up in Chicago and also went to the University of Illinois.
Mackey was an assistant law professor at the University of Alabama from 1959-62.
In 1962, Mackey became assistant counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly. In 1963, he became the director of the Office of Policy Development for the Federal Aviation Agency.
In 1965, he became the director of the Office of Transportation Policy for the U.S. Department of Commerce and developed programs and policies for transportation systems.
In 1967, he became assistant secretary for policy development for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
From 1971 to 1976, Mackey was president of the University of South Florida. In 1976, he became president of Texas Tech University.
Mackey is survived by his wife, Clare; daughter Carol Shaffer (Edward) of Dallas, Texas; son John Mackey (Amy Perruso) of Honolulu, Hawaii; daughter Ann Kling (Michael) of Las Vegas, Nevada; and five grandchildren.
Memorial services will be scheduled in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and East Lansing.