Lives of the fellows

George Paul McNicol

b.24 September 1929 d.28 July 2014
CBE(1991) MB ChB Glasg(1952) FRFPS Glasg(1957) MRCP Edin(1957) MRCP Glasg(1962) MD(1964) MRCPath(1964) PhD(1965) FRCP Glasg(1967) FRCP Edin(1968) MRCP(1971) Hon FACP(1972) FRCP(1977) FRCPath(1977) Hon DSc Wabash College(1989)

George Paul McNicol was principal and vice chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. He was born in Glasgow. His father, Martin Wilkinson McNichol, was an average adjuster, an expert in marine insurance and law. His brother, Martin Wilkinson McNichol [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] became a respiratory physician at Central Middlesex Hospital. McNicol was educated at Hillhead High School in Glasgow and then went on to study medicine at the University of Glasgow. He was an outstanding student, winning the Bellhouston medal and the prize for the best contribution to university debates (1951 to 1952). He qualified MB ChB in 1952.

He was a house surgeon, house physician and registrar in Glasgow (at the Western Infirmary and Stobhill General Hospital). He was then a regimental medical officer for two years from 1953 to 1955, before joining the department of internal medicine at Washington University, St Louis, on a Harkness fellowship. He gained his PhD from Glasgow in 1965.

He held academic posts in Glasgow, with a year spent as a clinical lecturer and honorary consultant physician at the Mekerere University College Medical School, Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya. He was editor of the Scottish Medical Journal from 1969 to 1971.

In 1971 he moved to Leeds, where he became professor of medicine and head of the department of medicine at the General Infirmary, Leeds, following the retirement of Sir Ronald Tunbridge [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.513].

McNicol continued his research in haematology while at Leeds and was in great demand as a research supervisor and an external examiner. He travelled widely in Europe, Africa, the USA and Russia to deliver lecturers and as a visiting physician.

In 1981 he became principal and vice chancellor at the University of Aberdeen. He was awarded a CBE in 1991.

In 1959 he married Susan Moira Ritchie. They had three children – Martin, Susie and Anne – and four grandchildren.

RCP editor

[Herald Scotland 8 February 1990 www.heraldscotland.com/news/11981363.University_principal_who_has_led_from_the_front_and_never_courted_popularity/ – accessed 14 November 2016; Obituaries Secretariat University of Leeds George P McNicol www.leeds.ac.uk/secretariat/obituaries/2014/mcnicol_george.html – accessed 14 November 2016; BMJ 2014 349 5371 www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5371?hwoasp=authn%3A1479226708%3A1019339%3A1454528940%3A0%3A0%3A7vzIf0K0igM2N84VxWYjug%3D%3D – accessed 14 November 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

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