Margery Magill, International Agricultural Development Alumna, Dies Unexpectedly

Margery Magill, UC Davis
Margery Magill, UC Davis

Margery Magill, who received a B.S. degree in International Agricultural Development at UC Davis in 2015, died at age 27 on August 27, 2019. She died in Washington, D.C., near where she lived.

Magill was working as a program coordinator for the UC Davis Washington Center, where she helped place graduate students in internships at home and abroad. Prior to that, she worked as an intern at the Jane Goodall Institute after finishing her undergraduate degree, then she earned a master’s degree in international relations at the University of Westminster in London before recently returning to Washington, D.C.

An experienced global traveler (Central America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe), Magill’s passions included international agriculture, food security, and empowering women and students. While at UC Davis, she was a UC Davis Study Abroad student assistant for more than a year.

Margery Magill is survived by her parents, Jeff and Bonnie Magill, and her sister Raeann Magill, who live near Yuba City, California. Bonnie Magill is also a UC Davis alumna, with a B.S. and an M.Ed. degree.

In her youth, Margery developed a passion for agriculture, and was involved with 4-H and FFA, and raising goats. While at UC Davis, she volunteered as an Aggie Ambassador in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Colleagues and friends of Magill describe her as friendly, outgoing, and a natural leader. Here are a few of many tributes to Magill from her UC Davis colleagues.

 

UC Davis Chancellor Gary May’s fitting comments on Magill:

Her incredible passion in the fields of food security and international agriculture will continue to inspire us. She worked tirelessly to help people, animals and serve as a role model to others. … We remain grateful for the impact she made on so many people at UC Davis and far beyond. Margery’s loss is deeply felt by all of us. Read the full article.

 

Professor Gail Taylor, chair of the Department of Plant Sciences:

Margery Magill was a devoted and ambitious student at UC Davis, who was well liked and regarded by her peers and faculty. She was a strong proponent of many issues important in the International Agricultural Development program — global food security, international agriculture, empowering women, and supporting students. We try to build that type of awareness in all of our students, but she already had it upon her arrival. We are saddened by Margery’s loss at such a young age, and our hearts go out to her beloved family and friends.

 

Theresa Costa, undergraduate advisor for International Agricultural Development (IAD) when Magill was a student:

Margery was a very sweet and spunky student. Like a lot of IAD undergrads, she knew what she wanted from her major, but mostly she wanted to be out of the classroom — Internships, Study Abroad, Washington Program, and more Study Abroad. I recall long advising sessions trying to figure out how to work all of her plans into a coherent major program. She brought energy into the room with her. I’m so sad that she won’t have a chance to continue spreading her passions.

 

Brenda Dawson, communications director for the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis:

I really enjoyed meeting Margery, as she was one of those students who leaves you feeling inspired and thankful to work at UC Davis. Margery was a joy to interact with for the “Women Feeding the World: Farmers, Mothers and CEOs” event at UC Davis in 2014. She submitted a “Seaweed mama” photo for the event’s photo gallery, and it was selected from more than 80 photos submitted, and was featured at the event and on the photo gallery. We loved her photo and caption, which were part of the ensuing photo essay in Modern Farmer.

A telling quote from Magill, as part of the “Women Feeding the World” event: “I read that if I support women, they’re more likely to invest in their children’s education and children’s health in the long run — and that’s kind of just stuck with me.”

 

Dana Armstrong, Study Abroad program coordinator and advisor at UC Davis:

Margery was an amazing student assistant in Study Abroad. Many of us knew and loved her. She was someone who lived life well. She was intentional, driven, smart, and marched to the beat of her own drum. While at the front desk at Study Abroad, she would greet everyone who came in, whether they were distracted or busy — she’d be there with a smile. She was very well traveled, as it was her dream to travel and find ways to minimize food insecurity.

Far from the average young person these days, we all have clear memories of Margery knowing exactly what she wanted to do, and what her next steps would be. She was decisive and intentional in the best of ways, which is how she was able to pack so much amazing experience into an unfairly short life.

 

The Department of Plant Sciences, which administers the International Agricultural Development undergraduate and graduate programs at UC Davis, reaches out with heartfelt condolences to Margery Magill’s family, friends, colleagues, and all of her global contacts who have benefited from her commitment to making the world a better place.

Margery’s parents can be reached at: Jeff and Bonnie Magill, 373 Shannon Road, Yuba City, CA 95991.

Read more about Margery Magill

  • UC Davis Chancellor Gary May’s statement on Margery Magill. August 2019.
  • Northern California woman dies in Washington, D.C. August 2019.
  • Washington Program: Interview with Margery Magill. February 2019.
  • Meet the Virtual Foreign Service Interns, U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Spain and Andorra. July 2014.
  • Photo Essay: Women are Feeding the World. February 2014.
  • Women Feeding the World: Farmers, Mothers, and CEOs. January 2014.

(Article by Ann Filmer, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis, August 30, 2019.)

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