Gary McGill

Meet Our Deans: Gary McGill

You already know that the Warrington College of Business is the top business school in the state and one of the best in the nation and world, but do you know the leaders that have guided us to such success and recognition? In our Meet the Deans series, we introduce you to the seven deans across the Warrington College of Business, Hough Graduate School of Business, Heavener School of Business and Fisher School of Accounting that lay the foundation for our success.

Gary McGill is Associate Dean of the Warrington College of Business, Director of the Fisher School of Accounting and J. Roy Duggan Professor. He is responsible for the strategic vision of the Fisher School, managing its financial resources, student population and programs of study, as well as its day-to-day operations. McGill has been at the Warrington College of Business for 33 years, serving 13 years as Associate Dean and Director and 20 years as a professor of accounting. Originally from Dallas, Texas, he completed his MPA in Taxation and BBA in Accounting at the University of Texas at Arlington. He received his Ph.D. in Accounting from Texas Tech University.


Q: When did you know that you wanted to be involved in higher education, and why was that an interesting option for you?

McGill: “I realized that higher education might be a career option for me when I was a master’s student. I was initially headed to a job in public accounting, but as part of my master’s program, I taught an introductory accounting course. Teaching that course opened my eyes to higher education as a career. It was fun teaching the students. I had my own room with my own group of students, trying to teach them something about a complicated subject. As a result, I spent a lot of time talking to my professors about a career in accounting education. I learned there’s a lot more than teaching involved in being an academic, but the more I learned about it, the more interesting it seemed. I ended up going to the public accounting job after completing my master’s degree anyway, but knew that I would eventually go back to school to earn my Ph.D. The rest is history.”

Q: What are you most proud of that you’ve been involved with during your time at Warrington?

McGill: “I’m most proud of the success I see among our students and graduates, everyone from undergraduate to Ph.D. They continuously amaze me, and the heights of their success seem limitless, no matter if they’re working at universities, accounting firms or in other business roles. It’s because of their success and the quality of students the School continues to attract that the Fisher School remains held in such high regard.”

Q: What goal do you have for students pursuing a degree at the Fisher School of Accounting? What do you most hope they get out of their time here?

McGill: “My goal is that the students leave here with the ability to think critically about complex issues, to continuously learn and build on their foundations. At the Fisher School, we teach them how to learn, give them a place to exercise everything they’re taught and how to apply the skills of critical thinking in a complex context. Matters in the field of accounting may change, but critical thinking remains. It might seem to students that we’re teaching them how to work a problem or the vocabulary or how to use a spreadsheet, but that’s not what they’re really learning. We’re teaching them the mindset of critical thinking and problem solving.”

Q: If you didn’t decide to pursue a career in higher education, what would you do instead?

McGill: “I’m passionate about music, and I’ve always wanted to be a radio disc jockey. I actually had the opportunity to host a show in Boston last year. The show was called ‘Highway 61 Revisited,’ and it featured artists with a Texas connection and their rock and folk songs from 1966-1973. It was everything I dreamed of.”

Q: What can we find you doing outside of work or on the weekend?

McGill: “You can find me at live music events, at a craft brewery, or maybe a combination of the two! If I’m not at one of those, then you’ll find me at the beach.”

Q: What’s a fact about you that might surprise other people?

McGill: “When I was 19 years old, I attended the second annual Willie Nelson Fourth of July Festival in College Station, Texas. Unbeknownst to me, someone took what is now a famous photo of the audience at that concert with me directly in front of the stage. The photo has been featured in numerous Willie Nelson biographies, stories and other publications. I still see the photo in different places to this day.”

Q: Is there anything else you’d like the Warrington community to know about you that we didn’t ask about?

McGill: “I’d like students to know that one of the things I love most about my job is speaking with them. I love hearing what they’re thinking about, what they’re doing and what they want to do. I especially like talking to the sophomores and juniors. That’s about the time when they’re learning how to network and deciding what they want to do. Students don’t think they can just make an appointment with me, but they can. Many times, they only tend to come see me when they have a problem, which I’m happy to help them with, but I’m also available to talk about anything else. I always stay in touch with those students who do come to see me, and I enjoy hearing from them because it keeps me grounded.”