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M.R.C. Greenwood portrait

M.R.C. Greenwood

AB 1968, Vassar College; PhD 1973, The Rockefeller University; Postdoctoral Fellow 1974, Columbia University

Greenwood, an internationally respected scientist and higher education policy expert, was the first female president. She led the university through a deep recession, and launched the HI² innovation agenda. The UH Cancer Center, the new West Oʻahu campus, Pālamanui and the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative, are among the projects that were completed or advanced during her tenure.

David McClain portrait

David McClain

BA 1968, Kansas; PhD 1974, MIT

McClain provided stable leadership as the university successfully completed the largest fundraising effort in the state. During his tenure, UH Hilo opened a School of Pharmacy and UH Mānoa consolidated Hawaiian studies and language programs into the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Evan Dobelle portrait

Evan S. Dobelle

BA 1983, MEd 1970, EdD 1987, Massachusetts-Amherst; MPA 1984, Harvard

Dobelle pushed greater campus independence, establishing chancellors at UH Mānoa and each community college.

Kenneth Mortimer portrait

Kenneth P. Mortimer

AB 1960, MBA 1962, Pennsylvania; PhD 1969, UC Berkeley

An expert in higher education policy, Mortimer expanded university autonomy and oversaw the first comprehensive fundraising campaign. He institutionalized service learning, addressed maintenance backlogs along with new construction and tackled articulation between campuses and faculty pay inequities but had to grapple with declining state resources.

Albert Simone portrait

Albert J. Simone

BA 1957, Tufts; PhD 1962, MIT

Simone lobbied for greater independence from the legislature’s control in order to retain accreditation. During his tenure, UH Mānoa consolidated departments, research institutes and federal cooperative programs from different parts of campus into the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, a leading education and research resource.

Fujio Matsuda portrait

Fujio Matsuda

BS 1949, Rose Polytechnic Institute; ScD 1952, MIT

The nation’s first Asian American university president used political ties to keep the budget afloat and court the legislature. During his tenure, Mānoa built the Institute for Astronomy, Korean Studies Center, Marine Sciences Building, law school and library, Kahanamoku Pool and PE/athletics complex. The School of Architecture opened and West Oʻahu College became UH West Oʻahu.

Harlan Cleveland portrait

Harlan Cleveland

AB 1938 Princeton; LLD: 1956 Rollins College, 1960 Franklin and Marshall College, 1962 Middlebury College, 1962 Kent State, 1968 Arizona State, 1972 Korea; LHD: 1958 Alfred, 1966 Kenyon College; DCL: 1966 American; LittD 1968, Pittsburgh

Rhodes Scholar and diplomat Cleveland established UH’s law school, extended the medical school, created UH Hilo and appointed the first Mānoa chancellor.

Thomas Hamilton portrait

Thomas H. Hamilton

BA 1936, LLD 1961, DePauw; MA 1940, PhD 1947, Chicago; LHD 1960, Alfred; LLD 1961, Rollins College; LLD 1961, Colgate; DH 1967, Oakland U (Michigan); LLD 1967, Southern California

Hamilton finessed a sizeable budget increase to deal with a growing student body and set the wheels in motion for UH’s medical and law schools. He resigned amid protest related to the Vietnam War and a controversial faculty tenure case.

Laurence Snyder portrait

Laurence H. Snyder

BS 1922, ScD 1947, Rutgers; MS 1924, ScD 1926, Harvard; ScD 1960, Ohio State; HHD 1962, North Carolina

Groundbreaking geneticist Snyder enjoyed generous tax support that enabled the university to construct 37 new buildings, double enrollment and institute new academic programs. He took particular pride in the monkeypod shaded mall, but alumni protest led to reversal of his decision to eliminate the football program.

Paul Bachman portrait

Paul S. Bachman

BS 1922, Ohio State; MA 1925, PhD 1927, Washington

Bachman divided history/political science into two departments, appointing the first political sciences chair. His tenure was cut short by his untimely death just 14 months after taking office as president.

Gregg Sinclair portrait

Gregg M. Sinclair

BA 1912, LLB 1949, Minnesota; MA 1919, LLD 1954, Columbia; LLD 1951, Ohio State; LLD 1955, UC Berkeley; HHD 1956, Hawaiʻi; DLit 1960, Keio

A founder of the university’s Oriental Institute, forerunner of the federally funded East-West Center, Sinclair attracted prominent figures and leading minds as guest lecturers and participants in the East-West Philosophers’ Conferences. He maintained and developed university programs during the difficult war years.

David Crawford portrait

David L. Crawford

BA 1911, LLD 1933, Pomona; MA 1912, Stanford; LLD 1957, Hawaiʻi

An entomologist and athletics coach, Crawford developed one of the nation’s largest summer school programs and sought internationalism as an avenue to world peace.

Arthur Dean portrait

Arthur L. Dean

BA 1900, Harvard; PhD 1902, Yale; LLD 1947, Hawaiʻi

A chemist recruited from Yale, Dean saw the transformation of the College of Hawaiʻi into the University of Hawaiʻi and growth in enrollment from 21 to 874 students. He later served on the Board of Regents.

John Gilmore portrait

John W. Gilmore

BSA 1898, MSA 1906, Cornell

The first president was an agriculture professor who established schools in China and the Philippines. He recruited several colleagues from his former institution, Cornell University, who shared his belief that land-grant institutions should serve the public and democratize higher education.

This page does not include those who served UH as interim presidents.

Last modified: October 22, 2021
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