Apparently, he also had a sense of humor as a poet, writing what he considered "doggerel." Here is his perspective of maturing as an academic advisor.
Growing From Advisor Into Mentor
In early years I thought my job
Was keeping standards high
'Twas rigor that I sought to teach
With criticism wry
But later on I learned anew
The truth of feedback's fate:
That many barrels of vinegar
Does not one thought create
That snips of sugar, sagely used
Can motivate anew
That praise, like yeast, can leaven
The intellectual brew
I also learned that students
(Like our kids, by now all grown)
Had lives to live, and dreams to dream
Relationships to hone
That they were folks who needed
Their autonomy to claim
That "study" was a part of life
But not the whole damn game
But most of all I came to see
That what they most required
Was the surge of capability
That self-confidence inspired.
So what I best could do for them
Was not to scorn nor flatter
But rather to convince them that
Their own ideas matter.
Indeed, McGrath was a revered mentor to many fine minds in the field of social psychology. Many graduate students would be so lucky to have academic advisors with this attitude.