Biography of William MacGregor
William MacGregor enrolled at the University in 1869 for two years as part of his medical degree. He graduated MB CM from the University of Aberdeen in 1872, and MD in 1874, and gained the Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow) and Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh).
MacGregor was born in Aberdeenshire, son of John, a farmer and a crofter. At the age of 23, MacGregor enrolled at the University of Glasgow, attending the Institutes of Medicine class in session 1869/70 and the summer session of 1870/71.
He embarked on medical career in the British colonies overseas, at the Seychelles (1873) and Mauritius (1874) and then as chief medical officer of Fiji (1875). Along with his medical responsibilities, MacGregor was also charged with a variety of administrative roles, and on occasion acted as interim governor of Fiji.
His unique medical and administrative skills were acknowledged as he was appointed time and again to high-ranking civil administration roles around the world. In 1888 he was appointed administrator of British New Guinea, during which time his son, James Robb MacGregor also attended the University; in 1895 he became lieutenant-governor of British New Guinea; from 1899 to 1904 he served as governor of Lagos Colony, Nigeria; from 1904 to 1909 as governor of Newfoundland; and on 2 December 1909, he was made governor of Queensland. The suburbs of MacGregor in Brisbane and MacGregor in Canberra are both named after him.
MacGregor retired in 1914 to Berwickshire, Scotland, serving briefly during WWI and lecturing on his experience of German rule in the Pacific. He died of ill-health on 3 July 1919.
MacGregor received numerous accolades during his service: He was made CMG in 1881, KCMG in 1889, CB in 1897, GCMG in 1907, and privy councillor in 1914. He also received honorary degrees from Cambridge, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Queensland.