VIRGINIA BEACH - Dr. Virgil Vincent McKenna, Jr. passed away after a brief illness August 2nd, 2017, he was 82. Dr. McKenna was born in Mineola, New York and grew up in Westbury, Long Island, New York. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Willafay Hopkins McKenna of Williamsburg, son Quinn McKenna (Mary) of Burlingame, CA, and daughter Elizabeth McKenna (Dena), also of Williamsburg and one granddaughter, Lila McKenna. Dr. McKenna was Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at the College of William and Mary. He received his undergraduate degree from William and Mary in 1957, his M.A. from Swarthmore College (1959) and his Ph. D. from Princeton University (1967). He began his teaching career at Carleton College, followed by Princeton University before his return to William and Mary in 1962. Dr. McKenna was a popular lecturer, receiving the Student Association Faculty Award (1968) and was selected Parent's Day Lecturer (1969). In addition to his teaching career, Dr. McKenna was an active researcher and author, and achieved many academic honors for his work. He conducted research in a variety of areas associated with psychological development and perception, including work for NASA, the Center for Population Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services. He presented many papers before academic associations, and earned the R.A Griffith Award from the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology for the outstanding paper presented in 1969. He co-authored Introductory Psychology: Readings for Discussion (1980). Dr. McKenna had a lifelong love of dogs and horses. He was a hot walker of polo ponies as a youth in Westbury, and spent a summer as an assistant to a thoroughbred trainer. To his great delight he won a drawing to be "Owner for a Day" of a thoroughbred at Colonial Downs. He was a great fan of wire haired fox terriers, and owned several most recently Zel. His other great love was The College of William and Mary. He followed Tribe sports teams, any news about the college and never failed to have a considered opinion on any matter, major or trivial, that related to his beloved alma mater. He spoke with equal fondness of the "good old days" at the College (including his first office, in the basement of the Wren Building) and of the College's most recent accomplishments. A celebration of his life is being scheduled. Please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive scheduling information.
Published in Virginia Gazette on Aug. 9, 2017.