Robert F. Magill


College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award (1978)
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A. 1938


Robert F. Magill was born in Bloomington, IN on April 16, 1917 and attended Indiana University, graduating with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1938. After his years in Bloomington, Magill won a full scholarship to Harvard Law School and later served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy on the Pacific front during World War II.

His post-war career began with the position of Assistant Tax Legislative Counsel in the U.S. Treasury Department, where he helped Congress develop the Internal Revenue Code in 1954. In 1955, Magill moved to Michigan to join General Motors, where he eventually was appointed Vice President in 1971. He became a principal spokesman for the company, achieving recognition from not only the government, but also the public. Magill chaired the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce (1981-82) and and served as Director on many other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers. He retired from GM in 1982 and co-founded the Detroit Executive Service Corps (DESC), which uses the expertise of retired industry executives and loans it to nonprofit organizations in southeastern Michigan.

Magill married Aileen O'Connor in 1943 and had four children. He passed away in Birmingham, MI on April 9, 2003.