Margaret Alice McGonagill
I'm fairly certain I got one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen in my life upon meeting Margaret A. McGonagill, known as Margy. From the moment we met, I knew she was extraordinary. She was kind enough to offer me lunch and gracious enough to let me ask questions for about as long as I pleased despite the fact that her mother, Millie had recently had a hospital visit. In addition to the contagion of her warmth, Margy also has a long resume full of experiences that beg to be illuminated.
Margy graduated with her BA from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Following graduation, she held several interesting jobs, including with Revenue Control in Las Vegas, Nevada and the University of Texas Athletic Department. In 1974, she drove into Washington D.C. - with twenty dollars in her pocket and expired license plates - where she procured a job working for Congressman William D. Ford (D-MI). Margy worked for Congressman Ford until 1983 as his Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff. It was during her time in D.C. that Margy met her future husband, Garry Bryant, who prompted her moved to Tucson, AZ, in 1983.
In Tucson, Margy became the Director of Federal Relations and the Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations at the University of Arizona. Margy served as the principal liaison between the University of Arizona and the Arizona Congressional delegation, U.S. House and Senate, numerous federal agencies and worked in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Department of Defense (DOD) to name a few. The primary goal of her office was to identify grants and federal funding opportunities to support UA research efforts. The office was notably involved with establishing the International Observatory on Mt. Graham in Southeastern Arizona, and working with the Morris K. Udall Foundation and Senator McCain on the Morris K. Udall Parkinson\'s Research Act of 1997.
In 2000, Margy retired from her work at the UA and was able to commit more time to her volunteer efforts, including the Women\'s Plaza of Honor Executive Committee. Margy has dedicated over 10 years of volunteer work and energy to the Women's Plaza of Honor, helping to create a lasting site of memory for women in Arizona and from around the world. Margy has honored her mother, Millie, in the Plaza, as well as a number of other women in her family. In addition to her work on the Plaza, Margy has also been extremely active in her involvement with the Parkinson\'s Action Network (PAN) to advocate for stem cell research at the federal level. Locally, Margy has contributed to the Arizona Chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association and played an active role in the Arizona Women's Political Caucus and Arizona Right to Choose.
Margy has an immense history of activism but is modest about her contributions. It is women like her that inspire me to continue the work that speaks most my passions and endorses the idea that people count. When I asked Margy what kind of life advice she would give, the one suggestion she voiced was to "take risks," which it seems she has most certainly done herself throughout her life.
Margy currently resides in Tucson, AZ, with her husband, Garry Bryant.