He joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in 2000 and served as the Departmental Executive Officer from 2019 to 2023. While at UI, he has been the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Research Corporation Research Innovation Award, Etter Early Career Development Award of the American Crystallographic Association, and the Young Investigator Award of the Inter-American Photochemical Society. Professor MacGillivray is also the recipient of a Cope Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
In 2007, Professor MacGillivray was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and then a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012 and Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2015. He has served on the editorial board of numerous journals, including as Chair (2011-2018) of the Editorial Board of the RSC journal CrystEngComm and as co-editor of IUCrJ. He also served as Chair of the Local Iowa Section of the ACS from 2012-2017 and Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Crystal Engineering in 2018.