Mac McCuen: Alumnus, cat lover, top Echo fan

Rev. Mac McCuen is an MC alumni that graduated in 1960. He enjoys chess, playing with his cats and keeping up with his favorite show, ‘Doctor Who.’ Photo Courtesy of Mac McCuen.
Rev. Mac McCuen is an MC alumni that graduated in 1960. He enjoys chess, playing with his cats and keeping up with his favorite show, ‘Doctor Who.’ Photo Courtesy of Mac McCuen.

He can be found in the comments section of most Echo stories online, keeping up with the campus and even giving some of his own input on the article’s subject. His name is Rev. R.H. McCuen, Jr., known as “Mac” by most, and he is a school alum and Echo veteran.

This avid “Doctor Who” enthusiast lives in Louisville, Ky,, with his wife Mary and their three cats: Calli, Pudder and Midnight. McCuen has two children and five grandchildren, and he volunteers two nights a week at a local shelter for homeless cats.

But McCuen is not just an avid Doctor Who fan and cat lover; he has a long history with Maryville College. He graduated from MC back in 1960 when there were sit-ins for the Civil Rights Movement and even the Communist takeover in Cuba. He attended at a time when, according to him, only chaste goodnight kisses were allowed between couples, there was absolutely no drinking or smoking allowed and tuition was only $700 a year.

“I tell people I majored in extracurricular activities,” McCuen said. “But I believe the official record would show that I was an English major.”

Originally, McCuen had plans to become an architect and create a firm with his father, but after he received a calling to ministry, he said that he decided to follow his pastor’s footsteps to attend MC. After he graduated in 1960, he attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was awarded an MBA by West Virgina University in 1980.

While McCuen attended MC, he resided in Carnegie all four years and said that he tried out a variety of extracurricular activities that did not seem to stick.

“I tried acting, tried the men’s glee club and I ran track for a little while,” McCuen said. “I also played golf, and I tell people that I play a 67. On the first hole.”

One aspect that seems to have made a lasting impression was writing for the Highland Echo. He was a staff writer for only one semester, yet he continues to this day to read every latest edition.

“The Echo was somewhat different in those days. That’s one of the things I like about reading the Echo now,” McCuen said. “It shows me how different Maryville and the student body are now as compared to them. For example, there would never have been articles on sexuality as there are today.”

For McCuen, the Echo gives him access to the most recent information about MC life today, and gives him insight on what and how the newest generations think. Since he has not been able to visit MC since the 1990s, the paper, he said, keeps him informed.

“Times change and our ways change, too. I am not one who looks with stern judgment at today’s youth,” McCuen said. “I marvel at their creativity and ability to cope with the challenges of life today.”

Yet some things never change. McCuen, as well as everyone who has dined at Pearsons, remembers all too well the struggles of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Of course, the students always had complaints. I waited tables at the dining hall for a while, and I was paid 17 cents an hour, so it wasn’t student help as much as it was student helplessness,” McCuen said.

Those days of waiting tables for next to nothing, living in Carnegie Hall without so much as a kiss from a sweetheart, and eating grits mistaken as cream of wheat at Pearsons may have passed, but McCuen looks back on them fondly. He said that he believes he made the right choice and has no bad memories of his time at MC and, one day, he may come back to see the campus where it all began.

2 thoughts on “Mac McCuen: Alumnus, cat lover, top Echo fan

  • March 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thanks, Samantha, for a job well done. It was good of you to offer your time and creative talents in producing this article.

  • March 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Mac was my “best man” twice, and both marriages have been great successes. We have exchanged neckties at Christmas for over 50 years, and all of the best ties that I own came from him. I’ve gotten the better half of this because his taste in ties has been better than mine. I have to say that I never knew he was a golfer, but I think I could beat him at that – I’m only a four or five putter on the green. Sounds like he was worse. It is interesting to know that we went to a fine high school, but he was the only one who went to seminary and became a minister and I was the only one who became a college professor. It was wonderful to read this piece.


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