Leo McGonagle

Executive Director, Bernard M. Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program


Leo McGonagle is the executive director of the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program. He has been at MIT for over ten years and was part of the team that conceived and designed the Gordon Program (GEL) in 2007. In 2008, he was named executive director as the program launched, and has been part of the leadership team since inception. Leo brought the concept for the highly regarded Engineering Leadership Lab (ELL) to MIT and to GEL, having overseen similar student experiential leadership development initiatives elsewhere. Leo has co-instructed this course since the first year of the program.

Leo’s passion is developing leaders. Before joining the Gordon Program, he spent a career in service as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. This included six years on college campuses, administering leader development programs and advising, coaching, and mentoring emerging-leader students.

Among his key assignments were as department chair of the Army ROTC Program at MIT, executive officer of a 600-soldier engineering construction battalion, and commander of a 100-soldier engineering company. As department chair, he was responsible for the leadership development and commissioning as officers of students from MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Salem State, Endicott, Gordon, and Wellesley College. He previously served in a student leader and character development role at The United States Military Academy at West Point.

Leo has led soldiers during wartime operations in Iraq and during peace enforcement operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He earned his commission through the ROTC and was a Distinguished Military Graduate. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, and has been awarded three Bronze Star Medals for leadership and service during combat operations. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, holds a M.S. in leadership development and counseling from Long Island University, and a B.A. in psychology from Boston University.