David McClain

David McClain
  • Professor and President Emeritus
  • Faculty Director of UH Manoa Study Abroad


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(808) 956-2535

Academic Background

  • PhD Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1974
  • BA Economics and Mathematics, University of Kansas, 1968

Professional Background 

David McClain served as President of the ten-campus University of Hawai‘i System from 2004-2009, and was UH Vice President for Academic Affairs during 2003-2004. From 2000-2003, McClain was Dean of the College of Business and the First Hawaiian Bank Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Management, and from 1991-1999 he held the Henry A. Walker Jr. Distinguished Professor of Business Enterprise chair.

McClain joined UH from Boston University, where he was a tenured faculty member and Finance Department chair, and founding director of its Management Development Program-Japan. He has taught at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, at the Universidad Gabriela Mistral in Santiago, Chile, and at the American Business School in Paris, and has been a visiting scholar at Keio University and at Meiji University in Tokyo.

McClain served as a senior staff economist on the Council of Economic Advisers to President Jimmy Carter, and began his career with Data Resources, Inc., where he was head of international economic information services. McClain has been a member and chair of boards of directors of more than a score of corporate, professional and nonprofit organizations, and has served widely as a consultant on economic, management, and leadership issues.

McClain has chaired the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Management Network, and is an honorary counselor for the International Association of Asia Pacific Studies. He currently serves on the board of academic advisors for Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, and on the advisory board of First Insurance Company of Hawaii, a member of the Tokio Marine Group. 

Recognized on several occasions for professional and community leadership, McClain received the UH Alumni Association President’s Award in 2009, and was inducted into the Shidler College of Business Hall of Honor in 2014. He has received a number of awards for outstanding classroom teaching, including in 2013 the Dennis Ching Award from Shidler. He is the author of Apocalypse on Wall Street (published by Dow Jones/Irwin), a number of scholarly articles in business and economics journals including the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Sloan Management Review, and hundreds of columns on economic issues. 

After receiving a B.A. in economics and mathematics from the University of Kansas in 1968, McClain served in the United States Army, including a tour of duty as a first lieutenant in Vietnam in 1970-71, then earned his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1974. 

In 2007, McClain received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. David is married to Wendie McClain; they have three children and three grandchildren.