For the Love of Learning

Robert McGee '69, Ph.D., is as surprising as one of the plot twists of his fiction novels.

During his time at Gannon, the social science graduate juxtaposed the seriousness of his studies with the amplified tunes of his rock band “The Intruders.” As a student, McGee could be found in a classroom applying his love of philosophy and economics to the foundations of accounting he was learning, or at the Gannon lounge or a campus fraternity house strumming his guitar. As a student, he was one to pursue his interests wholeheartedly, no matter where those interests may lie. This held true throughout his career as well.

McGee was inspired by one of his own professors to pursue accounting and teach. Immediately following graduation, his first professional position was as an algebra teacher at Aurora High School in Ohio .

From there, his love of learning flourished, so much that McGee has earned 23 degrees, 13 of which are doctorate degrees, from universities in both the United States and Europe. He has worked as an attorney, CPA and consultant with clients including the Central Intelligence Agency. He has taught as a professor at Seton Hall University and Florida International University and is currently a professor at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

“One thing led to another; I didn’t plan any of that,” said McGee. “I thought I’d continue learning so I would have a good career path. When I had three [degrees], I wanted five; when I had five, I wanted 10, and I kept going.”

His career path provided introductions to new interests and passions. Teaching at Florida International University, McGee traveled to Russia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Jamaica and more; and today he continues these travels. His current position and location in Fayetteville re-introduced him to martial arts, which he previously explored, but in a new form–Taekwondo.

Starting at the age of 65, McGee began lifting, training and competing in tournaments to find he was consistently earning medals. Inspired to learn where this could lead him, he trained even harder. McGee has been the State Championship winner from 2013 through 2015, this year’s South East District Champion and has won 18 Taekwondo National Championship gold medals. Ranking as one of the world's top 10 competitors in seven out of eight events, he is currently training for the World Championship in July.

"If I set a goal for myself I feel internal motivation to move forward to achieve that goal"

While taekwondo and teaching are two important pieces to McGee’s well rounded, diversified being, they do not compare to his true passion– writing. Saying, “I just sort of fell into it, I guess,” stumbling on his talent for writing has started a new, exciting chapter in his life.

Starting with a tax journal, McGee’s writing has evolved into scholarly articles, short stories, nonfiction books, and more recently, fiction novels. Publishing 58 nonfiction books, his stories oftentimes fall under the genre of vigilante justice. “I incorporate ethics and current issues, but I like to make it interesting,” he said. “As long as people are reading my books, I’m happy.”

McGee’s many talents, skills and long list of academic and professional credentials are a testament to his passion for continuous learning.

“If I set a goal for myself I feel internal motivation to move forward to achieve that goal,” he said. “I like to set goals for myself; I have a lot of fun. I like to say that I haven’t really worked in the last 30 years. They say if you like what you’re doing, it’s not work.”