Angus MacDonald, 86, town resident and active MIT alum

Angus Nathaniel MacDonald, who served on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Corp. for most of the last four decades, died at his home in Greenwich on Sunday, July 8. He was 86.

The cause of death was complications of lymphoma, his family said.

Mr. MacDonald was president of Angus MacDonald & Co., a corporate merger and acquisition firm he founded in 1970. He first joined the MIT Corp., the institute’s board of trustees, in 1973 and was a life member emeritus of the corporation since 2001.

During his time on the MIT Corp., Mr. MacDonald served on a wide range of visiting committees, including aeronautics and astronautics, development, humanities, political science, and Whitaker College. Most recently he had worked in neuroscience, chairing the corporation’s visiting committee on brain and cognitive sciences from 1994 to 2000.


Mr. MacDonald received the Bronze Beaver Award, the MIT Alumni Association’s highest honor, in 1970, and was named a Founding Life Sustaining Fellow in 1979. He served as president of the MIT Alumni Association in 1981-82, and later served on the Board of Associates of both the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Mr. MacDonald was a founding member of the MIT Council for the Arts.

Beyond the institute, Mr. MacDonald served on President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities from 1981 to 1982, and was a past president of the Toynbee Prize Foundation and a founder of the Festival Orchestra Society of New York.

Mr. MacDonald was born Jan. 13, 1926, in Baltimore, Md. At age 16, he signed up with the Naval Air Force, but was deferred and sent to take courses at Harvard University for a year. He went on to earn his SB in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT in 1946 and his SM in mechanical engineering in 1947.

Mr. MacDonald authored three books, Middle Ground, At Fault and Ultimate Concerns and Other Vanities: The Legacy of Ledgerock, a Greenwich Oasis. At Fault, a novel about an aircraft that crashes into a Miami high-rise, was optioned as a movie but the project was shelved after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. MacDonald is survived by his wife of 47 years, Monaise MacDonald of Greenwich, three daughters, Laurel MacDonald of Sag Harbor, N.Y., Susan Nobel of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Robin Curtis of Wilton, three grandchildren, and a stepson, John Richards of Mystic.

There will be no public memorial services. Gifts and donations in Mr. MacDonald’s honor to the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences may be mailed to Bonny Kellermann, [email protected], at the MIT Office of Memorial Gifts, 600 Memorial Drive, Room W98-500, Cambridge MA 02139.

The family would prefer not to receive flowers or other gifts directly

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