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Queen's remembers Professor Emeritus David B. McLay

The Queen’s community is remembering Professor Emeritus David B. McLay of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, who died Sunday, Nov. 8. He was 92.

Professor Emeritus David B. McLay

Raised in Hamilton, Dr. McLay received his BSc from McMaster University in 1950 and then his Master’s in 1951. He would then earn his PhD from the University of British Columbia in molecular physics in 1956.

Dr. McLay first taught at Victoria College (now University of Victoria), and then University of New Brunswick before arriving at Queens University in 1961 as a professor of physics. His research focused on molecular physics and he set up a microwave spectrometer to study molecules containing nuclei with electric quadrupole moments. He went on to investigate dielectric relaxation and electron spin resonance in the microwave region, and pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance in the radio frequency region.

In 1976 Dr. McLay was appointed Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Arts and Science, where he was responsible for handling all undergraduate student issues in the faculty. All issues included degree programs, courses, curriculum, individual academic and personal problems and telephone calls from mothers. He served for over a decade with great dedication and empathy for students.

During his time at Queen’s he also acted as coordinator for Queen's students to tutor high school students and worked with Queen’s students for the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

Away from the university he spent many hours volunteering for his church and as a chaplain at the Kingston Penitentiary. He was a long-time member of the Kingston Choral Society.

In 1993 he retired and was appointed Professor Emeritus.

In retirement he continued to learn and earned a BA in Art Conservation (1998), a BA in Art History (2001), and a Master's in Art History (2007), all at Queen’s. He developed an interest in the history of physics at Queen’s and supported the physics department’s collection of  historical scientific instruments. He wrote a comprehensive history: 125 years of Physics at Queen’s University, in which he chronicled the great pioneers who made the university a wonderful institution.

A small private service was held on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Online condolences may be made at reidfuneralhome.com.