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Pension industry legend Dan McGill dies at 93

Lifelong Presbyterian was architect of PC(USA)’s pension plan

February 12, 2013

LOUISVILLE

Dan M. McGill, 93, a legend in the pension industry and the author of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Pension Plan following reunion in 1983, died Feb. 5 in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.  

“Dan was a gentle man in every sense of the words,” said Robert W. Maggs Jr., president and CEO of The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “Always the mentor, he both led and taught all of us at the board for 35 years. Thanks to Dan and the unique Pension Plan he authored for our members, tens of thousands of Presbyterian clergy and Pension Plan members have had and will have extraordinary security in their retirement years.”

The board captured the history of the Pension Plan in a video interview with McGill in 2011.

A Tennessee native, McGill earned a B.A. from PC(USA)-related Maryville (Tenn.) College and an M.A. from Vanderbilt University. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force, McGill returned to school earning his Ph.D. in 1947 from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1952 he returned to that school to direct the newly established Pension Research Center. It was a time when the corporate practice of providing retirement benefits as part of employee wage packages was growing.

McGill was a Wharton faculty member for 40 years and the author and co-author of numerous books. His textbook, Fundamentals of Private Pensions, first published in 1964, is now in its ninth edition and remains an authoritative text.

Research by Dr. McGill that unveiled legal and financial problems in the country’s private pension programs helped initiate the reforms of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Additionally, he acted as a consultant to the U.S. Congress and a presidential commission as ERISA was being written.

McGill was elected to the Board of Pensions of the former United Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1975 and became chair two years later, a post he held until 1987. During this time, he also served as co-chair of the joint committee of the Board of Pensions of the UPCUSA and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. Board of Annuities and Relief.

The Unified Benefits Committee, as it was known, developed a new denominational retirement and benefits program after the 1983 reunion of the UPCUSA and the PCUS. McGill chaired the first board for the new plan, rotating off in 1988 and then serving as a consultant to the Board of Pensions through 2010.

Memorial services will be held Feb. 13 in his home church — Clover Hill Presbyterian Church in Maryville, Tenn., and at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in suburban Philadelphia, where he held numerous leadership roles.

Information for this story furnished by the Board of Pensions.

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