Born in the United States, she came to Queen's in 1909 when her husband, William McNeill, was appointed Professor of English. The couple had met while he was teaching at Bates College in Maine and she was the college's Dean of Women.
She was appointed Advisor of Women at Queen's in 1911 and, in 1918, became Queen's first Dean of Women. She served in the position until 1925 and subsequently lectured in both Spanish and Italian at the university.
McNeill is buried in the Cataraqui Cemetery.