Dr. Nancy MacNeill Makes a Lasting Impact at MSMS

Dr. Nancy MacNeill taught Chemistry at MSMS from 1987 – 2014. She impacted countless
lives during her career as an educator.

When Dr. Nancy MacNeill passed away in 2018, her family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and tributes from her myriad of former students. Dr. Nancy MacNeill – lovingly referred to as Dr. Mac by most of her students – was an original member of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science faculty who taught chemistry there for 26 years until she retired in 2014. In 2013, Dr. MacNeill was named MSMS Teacher of the Year. She was also inducted into the Circle of Excellence in College Education at Mississippi State. Dr. Mac was often called the smartest person in the family by her siblings. She possessed a love for learning, reading, and music; and she was passionate about teaching. Her impact is still felt today by former students like Dr. Lib Morgan, who said, “I earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and teach because of Dr. Mac. What a role model, powerhouse, amazing human!”

Dr. MacNeill’s sister, Becky Takayesu, and her family were inspired to honor Dr. Mac for the vast impact she had throughout her teaching career by establishing the Dr. Nancy MacNeill Impact Fund with the MSMS Foundation. Becky shared, “Growing up with Nancy I was always impressed with her intellect, quick wit, and many talents. After meeting her former students and hearing their stories of the impact she had on them, I realized one of Nancy’s strongest attributes was that of an educator and love of the students she taught. Her impact on some of the students and their chosen careers went far beyond what I ever realized. My family is proud to honor her legacy at MSMS by establishing the Dr. Nancy MacNeill Impact Fund to help promote and continue the impact of education that Nancy embodied.”

The establishment of this special fund ensures that Dr. Mac’s impact lives on at MSMS in perpetuity. This fund will be fully endowed over the next five years, and proceeds will be used annually to support the chemistry department and a new faculty impact award.

* Annual servicing of chemistry department equipment will be paid for by this new fund. Dr. Mac insisted on providing students with the most advanced lab experiences available. She purchased some sophisticated equipment when she was teaching at MSMS to be used in the labs by students. These machines require servicing to stay in working order, and some of them had fallen out of use due to a lack of funding. Thanks to the Dr. Nancy MacNeill Impact Fund, those machines have already been added to the labs planned for this spring after the initial servicing was completed.
* The Dr. Nancy MacNeill Faculty Impact Award will be presented each spring to the faculty member selected by the graduating class of MSMS. The seniors will vote for the faculty member they believe most embodies the character and legacy of Dr. Mac. The first award will be presented this year by the MSMS Class of 2023. The teacher will receive a certificate and a monetary award.

Dr. Lib Morgan demonstrates the use of the newly serviced gas chromatograph that will be
used in chemistry labs with students this spring.