Prof. Emeritus Richard McNeil, department of natural resources, died on Sept. 25 at the age of 85.

Prof. Emeritus Richard McNeil, department of natural resources, died on Sept. 25 at the age of 85.

November 7, 2018

Professor Emeritus and Wildlife Biologist Richard McNeil Dies at Age 85

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Richard McNeil, biology professor emeritus in the department of natural resources, died on September 25, 2018 at the age of 85. McNeil began teaching at Cornell in 1964 and earned his emeritus status in 1999.

During his time at Cornell, McNeil participated in and lectured at several conferences such as “Who Owns Nature?” in 1999 and a conference on “Sustainable Development” in 1996, which was hosted by the Cornell African Students Association. 

McNeil received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan State University and his doctorate in 1963 from the University of Michigan in fish, game and wildlife management, according to the Cornell Chronicle, which is run by the University..

“Dick was a wildlife biologist who realized that policy makers and the public were central to the successful management of wildlife in specific and natural resources in general,” Prof. Jim Lassoie, natural resources, one of McNeil’s colleagues, told the Chronicle.

Even in his retirement, in 2001, McNeil led 25 people on Cornell Adult University’s first study tour to Mongolia. While exploring the Mongolian outback, the professor led the group in dinosaur hunts and relaxed in the sands of the Gobi desert.

Throughout his career, McNeil published several research papers including “Population Dynamics  and Economic Impact of Deer in Southern Michigan” and “In Pursuit of the Universal Oneness” in 1974. The professor also published a number of books such as Deer in New York in 1965 and Pesticides in 1966.

McNeil received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award of Excellence in Teaching in 1994 and the CALS Edgerton Career Teaching Award in 1996.

He was known for international conservation, interdisciplinary environmental studies and broadening the Department of Natural Resources’ curriculum by advocating for environmental sciences and ethics courses, according to the Chronicle.