Dr. PATRICK L. McGEER, PhD, MD, FRCP(C), FRSC, OC, OBC Patrick L. McGeer was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1927. His grandfather, James McGeer emigrated from Ireland and arrived in Vancouver in 1887. James McGeer was born in 1855 at Crookstowne, County Kildare. He was educated in Dublin and emigrated to England where he was a reporter for the Manchester Guardian. In 1882 he left England for Canada, joining the 25 man Winnipeg police force. He moved to Vancouver in 1887 where he started a dairy business. James McGeer, was the first in the pioneering McGeer family to be born in Vancouver. Younger brother of Mayor and Senator Gerry McGeer, he later became a county court judge. Patrick received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 1948, and his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Princeton University in 1951. After spending three years as an industrial researcher with the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, he returned to UBC, completing his MD in 1958 and his internship at the Vancouver General Hospital in 1959. He was immediately recruited for the Faculty of Medicine at UBC where he has remained since, currently as a Professor Emeritus. Dr. McGeer is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a member of the Order of British Columbia. He was recognized by ISI International to be among the world’s 100 most highly cited neuroscientists. He holds Honorary Doctorates from 4 Institutions. For many years, Dr. McGeer had a dual life as a brain researcher and a member of the British Columbia Provincial Cabinet. He served as an elected member of the B.C. Provincial Legislature from 1962-1986 and as a Minister of the Crown from 1976-1986. As a Cabinet Minister, Dr. McGeer introduced many scientific and educational innovations in B.C., including the Knowledge Network and seven Provincial Institutes. In recognition of the contributions he made to the development of high technology industry, he was chosen as British Columbia’s Businessman of the Year in 1982 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. While serving as the Minister for science, he called for plans to build a fixed link between Vancouver Island and the mainland, a project he continues to advocate. During his time in the B.C. Cabinet, Dr. McGeer, officially on leave of absence from UBC, continued to work evenings and weekends in the laboratory. During that period he published 150 scientific papers and the first edition of his book with Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles and his wife Dr. Edith McGeer. Dr. McGeer has always been interested in sports and played basketball for the UBC team that beat the Harlem Globetrotters. He played for Canada on the Olympic team of 1948. A conference all star and scoring champion, he is a member of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. The UBC teams he played for are in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and British Columbia Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a member of the scientific expedition from the Vancouver Public Aquarium that captured and trained the first killer whale. He went twice to the high Artic on whale expeditions. He was for many years a director of the Aquarium and is now a life member of both the B.C. Planetarium and Vancouver Public Aquarium Societies. He met his wife, Edith Graef McGeer, while working at the duPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware. She is the daughter of Dr. Charles Graef who was Vancouver’s first port doctor. She obtained her PhD from the University of Virginia at the age of 22. While working for duPont, she received a citation from the American Chemical Society for outstanding scientific contributions. The Doctors McGeer jointly received the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry Prize in 1992 and, in 1995, a special award for lifetime achievement from the Science Council of British Columbia. They were jointly appointed Officers of the Order of Canada in 1995 and received honorary Doctors of Science degrees from UBC in 2000. In 2002, they were jointly inducted as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2005 as members of the Order of British Columbia. Together, the McGeers have produced more than 600 scientific publications, as well as three younger PhDs. Rick, born 1957, is a computer scientist with Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto. Tad, born 1958, is an aeronautical engineer has founded four companies that make miniature robot aircraft. The largest is Insitu which recently sold to Boeing for $400 million. Victoria, born in 1960, is a philosopher and tenured professor at Princeton University. Their present scientific interest is largely on the role of the immune system in neurodegenerative diseases, with particular emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.See also http://www.mcgeerandassociates.ca
Dr. Patrick McGeer adjacent the bust of his uncle and former Mayor of Vancouver Gerry McGeer being interview by Ireland Canada Monument Society Director Eleanor McGrath at City Hall Vancouver.
Dr. Patrick McGeer alongside Mayor Gerry McGeer, the Mayor who undertook the building of City Hall Vancouver at 12th Avenue and Cambie Street.
Dr. Patrick McGeer adjacent to the Lord Mayor’s Chambers at City Hall Vancouver.