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Gale W. McGee* -- 1998 -- Outstanding Former Faculty
Gale W. McGee is the only UW faculty member ever to win elective national office. While taking an M.A. from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, he taught at several Midwestern colleges. In 1946, he accepted a position in UW’s Department of History. McGee’s career at UW was both spectacular and controversial. He was a gifted lecturer and a strong advocate against censorship. He and others battled the Trustees in a celebrated textbook censorship case, ultimately working out a compromise that satisfied both the Trustees and the academic community. In 1958, he was elected to the first of three terms in the U.S. Senate, where he served on many important committees. Fellow Democratic legislators chose McGee and John F. Kennedy as their two colleagues having the greatest potential in Congress. Upon leaving the Senate, he served as ambassador to the Organization of American States and was instrumental in winning approval for the Panama Canal Treaty in 1978. McGee died in 1992.
*In loving memory.