Donald McCabe

Obituary of Donald McCabe

Donald L. McCabe, founding father of academic integrity, dies at 72

Donald L. McCabe, a professor of Management and Global Business, who was often referred to as the “founding father” of research on academic integrity, died at home on September 17, 2016, the morning of his 50th wedding anniversary. He was 72 years old.

The cause was complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an uncommon neurological disorder, which he battled with his signature determination, humor, and humility since 2010.

Dr. McCabe, known as Don, was a retired professor of the Rutgers Business School in Newark, where he worked for 26 years. Dubbed “Dr. Ethics” by some, he conducted nearly 300,000 surveys on issues of student cheating and was the founder of the International Center for Academic Integrity, a consortium that still leads the crusade for academic integrity in education. He was routinely invited to present his research and findings around the globe, including all but a few states in the Union and all but one continent. One of his grandchildren bragged, “Papa is a world-known cheating expert.”

McCabe’s trailblazing work on integrity in an increasingly unethical world was widely quoted by the media: inclusive of print, radio, and television. He published numerous articles, book chapters, and in 2012, the book “Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do about It” with several colleagues. His research also made its way onto other, more unlikely outlets, including Saturday Night Live,The New York Times Style section, and Gary Trudeau’s cartoon “Doonesbury.”.

“Perhaps the most important reason that we should care about academic integrity is that college students are likely to become tomorrow’s leaders in virtually all areas of society, including education, medicine, law, politics, and business,” he wrote with his colleagues in “Cheating in College.” “The decision to cheat or not to cheat on academic work is one of the most basic ethical decisions faced by college students. If they cannot pass this test, this does not reflect well on our shared future.”

Before entering academia in 1985, his early business career included roles at Celanese Corporation and Johnson & Johnson.

Born on March 8, 1944 Donald Louis McCabe grew up in Closter, NJ and graduated from Bergen Catholic High School in 1962. Four years later he earned a Chemistry degree from Princeton University, and always considered himself a loyal and proud member of the “Overall Class” of 1966. He was awarded a M.B.A. from Seton Hall University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Management from New York University in 1985.

Don had many professional accomplishments, but he was first and foremost a family man. His proudest accomplishments were his 50-year marriage to D.J., his children Melissa, Beth, and Tom, and his grandchildren. He lived a full life and always prioritized faith, family, and friends. He was a man of integrity.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Jane (nee Murtaugh) McCabe, his children Melissa Lagemann and husband David, Beth Cocco and husband Mike, Tom McCabe and wife Susie, and his grandchildren, Tommy McCabe, Jessica Lagemann, Maggie McCabe, Mikey Cocco, Molly Cocco, and Emily Lagemann.

Don is also survived by his siblings, Rick McCabe and wife Nancy, Colleen Rafferty and husband John, and Erin Cox and husband Bill, and D.J.’s siblings, Bill Murtaugh and wife Ginny, Trish Francavilla and husband Bob, Mike Murtaugh, John Murtaugh and wife Anne and Megan Dippolito and husband John, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will take place on Sunday, September 25th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Norman Dean Funeral Home at 16 Righter Avenue, Denville, NJ. Funeral services will be held at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at 15 Myers Avenue in Denville, NJ on Monday, September 26th at 10:00 am. A Christian burial will take place immediately following.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to the International Center for Academic Integrity or CurePSP.