Obituary of Oliver George McGee, III
Oliver George McGee III, Ph.D, M.B.A., CFRM, AFWCI (affectionately known to his family as WeeBee, known to many as Oli or Dr. M), born October 28, 1957, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 1:04pm at the Capital Caring Health Halquist Center in Arlington, VA.
He was the first of three children and only son born to the marital union of the late Oliver McGee Jr. and Jean Wilson (formerly McGee, nee Arnold) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Oliver attended Cincinnati Public Schools for all of his grade school education, attending North Avondale Elementary School and Crest Hills Jr. High School. He was a class of 1975 graduate (at the age of 16) of Woodward High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was a celebrated drum major of the Woodward High School Bulldog Marching Band. His sisters, Brenda and Sherri and cousins Chris, Robin, Brandon all attended the family college and his mother, great aunt and cousin Linda Bates Parker worked for the University of Cincinnati, while Oli, chose to go to The Ohio State University. In the fall of 1975, Oli went on to dot the script Ohio as the second African American drum major of The Ohio State Marching Band. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1981. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, Dr. McGee moved on to The University of Arizona; where he received his Master of Science in Civil Engineering in 1983, and his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics (with a minor in aerospace engineering), in 1988. In addition, Dr. McGee received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2004. He also earned a Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.) in 2001, from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McGee earned the Certificate of Fund-Raising Management in 2013, from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Also, in 2013, he became an Associate Fellow of the World Certificate Institute (AFWCI).
Oli started his strong work ethic early, working at the McDonalds on Reading Road in the Bond Hill Cincinnati neighborhood (now a Richie’s); where he worked his way up to assistant manager, before graduating high school. He was the true scholar in a family full of writers and artists.
In 1993, Dr. McGee served as Visiting Associate Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Gas Turbine Laboratory. Also, at MIT, he was one of four inaugural appointments to the Martin Luther King Jr. Professorship from 1995-1997. From 1997-2001, he served as Special Assistant to President Wayne G. Clough at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Dr. McGee is former Senior Policy Adviser in the Clinton White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-1999); and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001).
Dr. McGee served as Chair of the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science at The Ohio State University (2001-2005). He was the first African American to hold that administrative position and a professorship at the school.
Dr. McGee was Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs for the United Negro College Fund in 2006. He also worked as the Professor of Mechanical Engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University—serving as the chief research officer. From 2016-2020, he was a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University, where he also served as Department Chair from 2016-2017.
Dr. McGee was committed to providing the best quality education to his students. Education was Dr. McGee’s passion, his life was dedicated to teaching and mentoring his students, as well as, making sure he provided them with support to achieve their highest potential in school and beyond. He touched and left a footprint on the lives of every student he taught and mentored.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. McGee lead Partnership Possibilities for America, a consulting firm based in Washington D.C. This group has worked with high-profile clientele in both public and private sectors, including the Fortune 500. Oliver gave many speeches at outreach and engagement events. He was keynote speaker at seminars for clients such as NASA, MIT, University of Cincinnati, and George Washington University. He was dedicated to assisting with his client’s projects to success and using pertinent books and publications he authored to supplement his speaking engagements. Dr. McGee was a much sought-after television news pundit and commentator on Social, Technological, Educational, Economic, and Political (STEEP) issues. He appeared on many programs on stations including, CNN, Sky News, BBC and Fox News, among others. Oliver’s print commentaries were featured in publications such as CNN, Yahoo! Finance, ABC/CBS/NBC News, The Daily Telegraph, USA Today, New York Post, CNBC, and many more.
Oliver was a speaker, professor, researcher, administrator, and Advisor to Governments, Corporations, and Philanthropy. Oliver left his footprints of brilliance in the White House, and was an accomplished researcher, professor, in the Science Technology Engineering and Math field that will never be forgotten.
Dr. McGee received many honors and awards, including; National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991), Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching State of Georgia Professor of the Year (1995), Certificate of Professional Development at The Wharton School (2001), American Council on Education Fellow (2012–13); among many others.
Oliver had an impeccable work ethic and he was always so committed to learning and educating for most of his life. His passion is what made his success and he never quit or took no for an answer. Oliver was outgoing, fun, loving, adventurous, loved reading and learning, smart, caring, wise, enthusiastic, always smiling, and kind-hearted. Oli made friends everywhere because his personality was so infectious and personable. His positivity, approachability, and mentorship are what made it so easy for his students to relate to him. Oliver was a bit of a rebel. He was one of the few Republicans (literally 3) in a family full of progressives and could hold his own through many telephone, backyard and dinner discussions with pretty much all of us scrutinizing his views. Despite all the hobnobbing with the political elite, to those of us who were family, Oliver will always just be Weebee. We’ll miss the arguments before dinner, his love of tennis and the strong opinionated Black man he grew up to be. Most of all we’ll miss that smile and his presence among us.
Oliver is survived by his mother Jean (George Wilson); sister Brenda McGee; paternal sister LaToya McGee; nieces Sa-Leemah Jihad, Emani Jihad, Nailah Edwards; nephew Leslie; Uncles Delano McGee, Eugene “Yogi” Arnold; Aunts, Odela Swift and Gloria Wallace; and a host of cousins, additional relatives, close friends and numerous students and business acquaintances.
Oliver enjoyed life, and loved an interesting conversation with family, good friends or starting an engaging conversation with anyone he met. Oliver always had a smile on his face and a joke on his lips. The family greatly appreciates the very close friends of Oliver who will deeply miss him as well; Cliff & MaryAnn Ursich Family of Centerburg OH, Tom & Carol Wagner (The Wise Family) of Marion OH, Peter Stewart of Atlanta GA, and Virgilio Gomez & Family of Dallas TX. Oliver will be missed by so many but not forgotten.
Oliver was preceded in death by his father Oliver George McGee II; sister Sharon “Sherri” McGee; paternal grandfather, Oliver George McGee Sr.; maternal grandfather, Eugene Arnold; maternal grandmother, Francis Espy; paternal grandmother Almeda (Schaggs-Clark) McGee; Aunt, Susanne Espy; Aunt, Barbara Jane McGee; Uncles, Harold McGee, Buford McGee, first cousin Cassandra McGee.
A Memorial Services and Celebration of Oliver’s Life will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2020; 1pm; at Zion Global Ministries; 9180 Cincinnati Columbus Rd, West Chester Township, OH 45069. Family request that all attending ceremony wear a mask.
Thank you all for the messages of sympathy you have sent me over the last several days. I appreciate all your kind words about my brother, and I especially love hearing your memories of him.
Many of you have asked how you can help during this difficult time. I know times are tough for everyone. In Lieu of sending plants and flowers, we appreciate monetary donations to Oliver’s Memorial Fund at https://www.gofundme.com/f/dr-oliver-george-mcgee-iii-memorial-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet This will help with the unexpected end of life expenses, Celebration of his Life, and laying his remains to rest. Please feel free to send cards to the family in care of Brenda McGee; 6501 Parrish Avenue; Cincinnati, Ohio 45239.
We appreciate your support. Thank you