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2014 - OLLI’s 35th Anniversary Year

Bud Mackey - The Man Behind Mackey Auditorium


The Mackey Auditorium, the jewel of our Ruby Gerontology Center (RGC), was named after Dr. Francis G. Mackey (known as “Bud”).

Dr. Mackey made a major donation toward the building of RGC, and particularly the auditorium, because he believed in the concept of the Continuing Learning Experience (the predecessor to OLLI) as a benefit to the senior community and CSUF. 


He wanted the auditorium to serve a multidisciplinary function at the university and as a research center for the medical and business communities in gerontological activities.


The 230-seat Mackey Auditorium, which opened as part of the new RGC facility [on the Cal State campus) in August 1988, was designed as a high-technology theater/auditorium. In addition to a state-of-the-art projection system, each seat included an audio outlet plus an audience response mechanism that was used for research and data acquisition, as well as aiding the audience in participating in discussions and Q&A.


Dr. Mackey was one of Orange County’s most

renowned physicians, serving as the Medical Director of St. Jude Hospital (now St. Jude Medical Center) in Fullerton. 


Originally from Warren, Ohio, he graduated from Ohio State University Medical School in 1943, and then served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. 


After the war, he moved to Fullerton and opened his internal medicine practice. He was the first cardiologist at St. Jude, and when he retired from his cardiology practice, he became the Medical Director at St. Jude. He was the driving force in establishing the first inpatient rehabilitation center in Orange County, which evolved into a model inpatient and outpatient facility at St. Jude for rehabilitation of stroke, orthopedic problems, cardiac, and other conditions. 


He was also a pioneer in the development of the medical culture in Orange County. Dr. Mackey was named Physician of the Year by the Orange County Medical Association and Distinguished Physician of the Year by St. Jude.


Dr. Mackey died in 2001 at the age of 84 of colon cancer, but not before he published a book about his own experience, titled “Why Die of Colon Cancer?” From diagnosis to chemotherapy, he chronicled his experiences in the book, which he self-published at a cost of $57,000 because he feared he would die before he found an agent. 


After many years of ignoring his own doctor’s suggestion to have routine tests for colon cancer, Dr. Mackey made it a cause to promote early detection. He spoke at wellness forums and medical gatherings on the value of tests like a colonoscopy for those over 50, which he believed would have saved his own life and would ultimately save thousands of lives.


Dr. Mackey’s support of RGC and CLE established a connection between St. Jude and OLLI that remains today in the form of Dr. Joe Lawton’s Medical Series on various medical issues by noted physicians from St. Jude. Dr. Lawton knew Dr. Mackey, and although he was not involved in starting the OLLI Medical Series, Dr. Lawton stated “(He) would have been a great supporter of it because of his dedication to community education and his relation to the medical community.”

—Chris Shaw, Associate Editor


OLLI is a program of the CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation administered by University Extended Education, California State University, Fullerton


Source: LL (Life Long Learning) Chronicle at Cal State Fulleton, 

February 2014 Volume XXXV Number 5


Dr. Mackeys obituary:





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