Guy Thornton McBride Jr., the 12th president of Colorado School of Mines (1970-1984), died March 21, 2011, at the age of 91. Guy was born in Austin, Texas, in 1919. He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas and a doctorate in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Guy had an outstanding career in both academia and industry. In 1948, he joined the faculty at Rice University, where he also served as dean of students. In 1958, Guy went to work for Texas Gulf, serving as vice president and general manager of Texas Gulf’s phosphate division until his appointment as president of Colorado School of Mines in 1970.
During his tenure of distinguished service at Mines, undergraduate enrollment nearly doubled. Three major new buildings were constructed on the campus. The Engineering Practice Introductory Course Sequence (EPICS) program was launched and several new degree programs introduced. In the first seven years of his presidency, Guy raised the endowment to more than $40 million, enabling the establishment of 25 named professorships.
Passionate about the importance of undergraduate education, Guy regularly taught an 8 a.m. thermodynamics class, affectionately termed ‘Breakfast with McBride,’ which students learned to fear and appreciate. Recognizing the importance of a healthy graduate program in attracting and retaining good faculty, Guy instituted graduate degrees in the departments of mathematics, chemistry and physics.
He was widely recognized and respected as the state’s senior higher education statesman, and was a strong advocate for Mines at the state legislature, arguing for better funding of education. A Denver Post story called him ‘coldly clear-eyed about what education is’ and added that he was ‘rigidly demanding of students.’
In 1978 the school instituted an Honors Program in Public Affairs, with the specific intention of broadening Mines students’ abilities in the liberal arts. In 1984 the Board of Trustees named this program The McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs in recognition of his scholarship and interest in this area.
Outside of his professional life, Guy pursued his interest in carpentry, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom were carpenters.
Guy was married to Rebekah Jane Bush McBride for 56 years. Becky McBride, who passed away in 1998, served as a gracious first lady of Mines during the years of his presidency. They had three children, Rebekah Ann, William and Ellen. Guy married Cordelia Rush McBride in 1999. In addition to his wife, Cordelia, Guy is survived by his son, William; his daughter, Ellen Alsobrooks; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; three stepchildren; six step-grandchildren; and four step-great-grandchildren. His daughter, Rebekah Ann McBride, died of cancer in 2004.