For almost forty years, C.F. McElhinney, or Mr. Mac as he was known, was a fixture on the University of Houston campus. Hired in 1934 as a Business professor, McElhinney devotedly spent the next thirty-nine years with UH. Throughout his association with the university, McElhinney served in numerous capacities, including acting President in 1953. In 1965, he addressed the General Faculty and summarized the purpose of the University of Houston from its founding during the Depression to the present, "it was in every sense an institution of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Upon his death in 1978, an endowment was established to purchase books in his interest area of Canadian business.