He served as the sixth president of Rice University in Houston, Texas, from 1993 until 2004.
Malcolm was University Professor and Ervin Kenneth Zingler Professor of Economics at Rice.
Malcolm received a Bachelor of Arts in 1962 and a Master of Arts in 1963 from the University of Florida, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Illinois in 1968.
While he was a student at Florida, he became a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
Prior to serving as Rice University president, Malcolm was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Duke University (1991–1993) and Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Duke (1986–1991).
Malcolm was one of four Co-Chairmen of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.
He sat on the Board of Directors of CRDF Global and Halliburton.
S. Malcolm Gillis died of cancer on October 4, 2015.